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"It is, therefore, as the inspired pacificator that Lamar will stand out unique, al- 
most incomprehensible to other times."— 37i« lUustraied American. 

Nashvu.le, Tenn. : 

Publishing House op the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. 

Bakbee & Smith, Agents. 


A-] (.51^^ 








The writing of Mr. Lamar's biography was not, with me, a self-assumed task. 
When he died the members of his more immediate family requested me to undertake 
the work. Notwithstanding the grave Objections that I possessed no adequate literary 
preparation, either of study or experience, and was much pressed by the imperative 
demands of an active law practice, there were certain other considerations which 
compelled my consent. Qf these the principal was a belief that my long-continued 
and intimate association with Mr. Lamar, which began in 1869 and ended only with 
his life, qualified me especially to collect the facts of his history and to understand 
and interpret much of his thoughts and designs which to any other who could be in- 
duced to assume the labor would be obscure or even incomprehensible. Bound to 
him by many ties of gratitude and tender memories, I could not decline to render the 
service desired. ^ 

It is not the purpose of this memoir to rake over^the ashes of old quarrels or to 
stir up the embers of dying animosities. Nor is its object either to vindicate the people 
of the South or to convict those of the North. Nor is it an apology for, or a glorification 
of, the career of Mr. Lamar. The aim is to give the story of his life as it was ; to show, 
so far as is possible, what he did and why he did it, conceiving that the story will be 
not only a merited tribute to a brave and patriotic man who dared much and suffered 
greatly for the good of his people, and in the end was greatly rewarded, but also a 
useful illustration of the unprecedented times in which he lived and of the novel , 
events among which he moved. Those events extended over forty years of most 
exciting and fruitful struggles in all departments of our government. They included 
the subjects of slavery, secession, civil war, reconstruction, constitutional amend- 
ments, reconciliation, in all of which Mr. Lamar was actively and prominently con- 
cerned. In order, therefore, that his biography may be read with full comprehen- 
sion and sympathy, it has been necessary to venture upon the delicate and dangerous 
task of presenting occasional brief expositions of some of those great controversies, 
as appropriate and helpful setting for the man and his work. I have earnestly tried 
to do this in a nonsectional spirit. Unless that has been done, I have not only fallen 
short of my duty as a man and patriot ; but also I have departed from the way of the 
great-hearted subject of the work, and have been untrue to his teaching. 

The principal labor and end of Mr. Lamar's later and greater life, that indeed to 
which all other efibrts were but a means, was the molding of a public sentiment — a 
sentiment in each section of our unhappily divided Union for a broad and lasting na- 
tional love. What success was his, and how much of that success was his work, this 
volume may help to indicate. It was manifestly impossible to tell that story without 
recalling and unfolding the conditions of then existing sentiment, both North and 



South, with which he and his colaborers had to deal. Let the reader be assured that 
in discussing those topics the statement of them is designed to be historical only, and 
not polemic. 

The new South holds the old in highest honor. The South of to-day thrills with 
filial love for the South that was; and in her innermost heart sits enshrined an un- 
wavering faith in the purity, the nobility, and the patriotism of the former genera- 
tion. But aspirations and hopes change with the lapse of time and the drift of events, 
and the Southern dreams of the present are not those of the past. Our people, 
throughout all the republic, are by the South believed to be now united as never be- 
fore. Prejudices of section and the passions of war and the humiliation of conquest 
have alike and all failed to rend us asunder; and the voice of the sower of dissension 
is felt to be the voice of a criminal. Edward Mayes. 

Jackson, Miss., November 5, 1895. 



Preface 3 


The Family of Lamar — Thomas, the Immigrant — Thomas, His Son — John Lamar — 
Mirabeau B. Lamar — Lucius Q. C. Lamar, the Elder — Micajah Williamson and 
Sarah Gilliam, His Wife — Dr. Thompson Bird and Susan Williamson, His 
Wife— Mrs. Sarah (Bird) Lamar 13 

The Old Lamar Homestead — The Old Georgia-Conference Manual-Labor School — 
Lucius' Character and Habits as a Child — Anecdote — Removal to Oxford, Gra. 
— Emory College — Graduation — College Influence upon His Character and 
Views 27 

Legal Education and Admission to the Bar — Marriage — Judge Longstreet — Mrs. 
Longstreet — Mrs. Lamar and Mrs. Branham — " Influence of Women " 37 

Removal to Oxford, Miss. — Admitted to the Mississippi Bar — Elected to an Ad- 
junct Professorship in the University of Mississippi — DS)vi as a Political 
Speaker— The Compromise Measures of 1850 — Debate with Foote over the 
Compromise 45 

Religious Impressions— Hon. Jacob Thompson — Prof. Albert T. Bledsoe — Return 
to Covington, Ga. — In the Georgia Legislature — Moves to Macon, Ga. — Candi- 
date for Congress from Third District — Returns to Mississippi — " Solitude " — 
Practices Law — C. H. Mott — James L. Autrey — Congressman or Professor? 56 

The Kansas-Nebraska Bill — The Struggle for Kaijsas — ^The Nicaragua Affair — 
Elected to Congress from the First District — Correspondence on Questions of 
the Day — First Speech in Congress — Rozell Letter — The Keitt-Grow Fight — 
The Vallandigham-Campbell Contest — A Professorship Contemplated — Dr. Bar- 
nard's Letter — Speech at Jackson on Douglas — Eulogy on Harris — Speech on 
the Tariff 64 

Thirty-sixth Congress; Reelected — Speech at Jackson — Speech on Election of 
Speaker — Letter to Barnard — Speech on Southern Slavery-^Charleston Conven- 
tion — Letter to Mott — Baltimore Convention — Accepts Professorship in Uni- 
versity — Speech at Columbus 80 

Election of Lincoln — Conference of Congressmen— Speech at Brandon — Legisla- 
ture of 1860— Resigns Seat in Congress — Liddell Letter — Member of Secession 
Convention — Passage of Ordinance — Lamar's Views on Secession — Blaine on 
Lamar and Secession 86 



Appointed to Confederate Congress — Lieutenant Colonel of the Nineteenth Mis- 
sissippi Regiment — Speech in Richmond— Military Service — Battle of Wil- 
liamsburg — Honorable Mention — OfladalReport— Illness— Resignation — Death 
of Jeflferson M. Lamar 94 

Envoy to Russia — Special Letter of Instructions — Trip to England — Official Dis- 
patches — Mission Terminated — Anecdote of Thackeray — Anecdote of Disraeli — 
Speech in England — Return to the Confederacy — Speech at Atlanta — Death of 
Thompson B. Lamar— Judge Advocate of Third Corps — Speech in Lines— Sur- 
render 103 

Southern Sacrifices and Condition — Gen. Walthall — Settles at Coffeeville — Condi- 
tion of Law Practice — Abstains from Politics — B. N. Harrison — C. C. Clay — 
Southern Sufferings — Correspondence — Accepts Professorship of Metaphysics — 
Made Law Professor — Character and Methods as Profe.ssor — Resigns Profess- 
orship — Address at University — Death of Judge Longstreet — Address at 
Emory College — Agricultural Address — Lee Letter — Letters to Reemelin — 
U. S. Marshal Pierce — Debate with Aloorn at Holly Springs 117 

Reconstruction: President Lincoln's Plan— Southern States: In or Out? — Presi- 
dent Johnson's Plan — Provisional Governments — Southern Constitutional Con- 
ventions — Temper of Southern People — Temper of Congress — Howe and Ste- 
vens—Gloomier Days— Reconstruction Legislation — Military Rule— Demorali- 
zation — Carpetbaggers — Reconstruction Constitutions — Three Delayed States — 
Radical Rule — Freedman's Bureau— The Negro Problem — Southern Sentiment 137 

Reconstruction in Missiscippi — Ejection of Gov. Clarke — Constitutional Conven- 
tion cTf 1865 — Gov. Humphreys — Col. Lamar on the Situation in 1866— Leg- 
islation of 1865 and 1867 about Freedmen — Rejection of Fourteenth Amend- 
ment — The Fourth Reconstruction District — Participation or No? — Constitu- 
tion of 1868-69 — Removal of Gov. Humphreys — Adelbert Ames, Military Gov- 
ernor — Louis Dent and Election of 1869— Gov. Alcorn — The Kuklux Profecu- 
tions — Col. Lamar in Retirement — The New Outlook 156 

The Liberal Republican Movement— Lamar's Letter on Greeley and Brown — La- 
mar for Congress in 1872 — Nomination, Canvass, and Election — Letters — Re- 
moval of Political Disabilities — Illness — Deliberations, 1873 — Democratic Party 
Disbanded — Supports Alcorn against Ames — Illustrative Letters of November, 
1873 — Enters Forty-third Congress — Letters to Judge Wharton on Grant — First 
Speeches : West Virginia Contested Election 169 

The Eulogy on Sumner: Preparation — Letter to Reemelin — Mr. Sumner's Flag 
Resolution — Memorial Services in the Senate — In the House — Lamar's Ora- 
tion — Its Delivery — Its Reception — Letter to Wife — Comments of the Press: 
Extracts — Anecdote— Criticisms— Mr. Blaine on the Eulogy — Effects 181 


Speech on Misrule in the Southern States — Radical Rule i;i Louisiana — McEnery 
and Kelloga;— Judge Durell'-s Extraordinary Order— Kellogg Installed— Mr. 
Lamar's Speech — Its Reception — Incorrect * Newspaper Personals— Further 
Events in Louisiana — Conflict of September 14, 1874 — Kellogg Again Installed 
by United States Troops— Mr. Lamar's Canvass of 1874— The " Landslide " — 
Critical Era in the South — Course of Events in Louisiana — DeTrobriand Purges 
the Legislature — Gen. P. H. Sheridan's "Banditti" Dispatch — Excitement 
in the North — Debates in Congress — Correspondence on Southern Policy — La- 
mar's Remarks on Civil Rights Bill— The Force Bill — Filibustering — Letter to 
New York Herald on Affairs in the South — Its Reception — Canvass and Speech 
in New Hampshire — Press Comments — Interviewed by Henry Grady — Corre- 
spondence 195 

The Question of Reelection — Rescue of the State from Radicalism — Mississippi 
and Louisiana — Gov. Ames's Administration— The Taxpayer's Convention of 
1875 — The Vicksburg Riot — Congressional Investigation — Ames's Message — 
Address of the Legislators — Invidious Police Laws — The Color Line — Lamar's 
Growing Fame— Renominated — Reorganization of the Democratic Party of the 
State — County Mass Meetings — Speech at Falkner's Station — The Color Line 
Again — The State Democratic Convention of 1875 — Lamar's Speech — Demo- 
cratic Platform — The Press on -Lamar's Renomination and Speech — Address of 
the State Democratic Executive Committee — Campaign of 1875 — George's Let- 
ter on the Black Code — Riots at Clinton and Yazoo City — Gov. Ames Calls for 
Federal Troops — Democrats Triumph and the State is Rescued — Impeachment 
of Ames, Davis, and Cardozo 229 

Forty-fourth Congress Convene? — Mr. Lamar Chosen Chairman of Caucus— ^he 
Caucus Address — Press Comments — Senator Alcorn's Term Expiring — Mr. La- 
mar Discussed as His Successor — Calls from outside the State — Nominated by 
Acclamation — Speech before the Legislature — Election and Comments on It — 
The Centennial Year — Debate on the Amnesty Bill — Lamar's Centennial 
Speech — The Scene Described — Press Comments — The Belknap Case — Lamar's 
Speech on Parliamentary Privilege — Press Comments — The Hamburg Massa- 
cre — Speech and Its Reception — Charged with Inconsistency, and His Vindica- 
tion — Speech on the Policy of the Republican Party and the Political Situation 
in the South 265 

The Presidential Election of 1876 — The Result Contested — Storms Threatening — 
The Electoral Commission — Mr. Lamar Speaks in Favor of the Bill — Speech — 
Additional Reasons for Supporting the Bill — Popular Speech — The Electoral 
Count — Democrats Disappointed — Filibustering — Feeling in Mississippi — Un- 
founded Rumors of Collusion — Press Discussions and Correspondence — The 
Gain Found in Defeat — President Hayes' Inaugural on Southern Pacification — 
Republican Chagrin — Mr. Blaine's Tilt with Thurman — Mr. Lamar's Letter to 
the President — Withdrawal of the Troops — The South Relieved — Mr. Lamar's 
Speech of 1879 on Hayes' Administration 290 

Doubts About Admission to Senate — Causes Thereof— Elections of 1875 — The 
Boutwell Committee of Investigation— Correspondence — Reports of the Bout- 
well Committee —The Presidential Contest Intervenes— The Complication 



with Kellogg's Case— Mr. Blaine's Unexpected Turn— Seated— The Democratic 
State Convention of 1877 — Independentism in Mississippi— Gen. George's Ad- 
dress to the Convention — Mr. Lamar a Member — Speaks — Silver — Platform of 
1877 — Called Session of the Forty-fifth Congress— Speech on the Seating of Sen- 
ator Butler, of South Carolina 311 

The Silver Speech — Summary of the Question — President Hayes' Message — ^The 
Bland Bill — The Matthews Eesolutions — Debate on the Resolutions — Mr. La- 
mar's Speech — Newspaper Comments — The Legislative Instructions — Corre- 
spondence — Refusal to Obey Instructions — Speech — Public and Private Com- 
ments — The Double Question of Statesmanship Involved — Harper's Weekly — 
"A Heart Almost Mated to Despair " — Campaign Speech of 1879 — Defense of 
Vote on the Resolutions — The Texas Pacific Railroad — Report and Speech on 
the Same 323 

Returns Home — His Reception — The Epidemic of 1878 — The Congressional Elec- 
tions of 1878 and the Solid South — The Cincinnati Interview — The Presi- 
dent's Message — Mr. Blaine's Investigation Resolution — The Debate — Mr. 
Lamar's Speech — Press Sketches — The Debate Resumed — Anecdote — Jefferson 
Davis' Open Letter on the Right of Legislative Instruction — The Bill to Pension 
the Soldiers of 1812 — Senator Hoar's Amendment Excluding Jefferson Davis — 
Angry Debate — Mr. Lamar's Speech — Mr. Chandler's Speech — Correspondence 
with Davis — Symposium in North American Review on the Negro Question — Pen 
Sketches and Anecdotes of Senator Lamar 352 

Struggle in Congress over the Army Appropriations — Troops Must Not Be Used 
at the Polls — The Debate of 1879 — Mississippi Opinion — Senator Conkling — 
The Mississippi River Commission Bill — ^The Army Bill — Republicans Filibus- 
tering — Senator Conkling's Speech — Mr. Lamar's Reply — Exciting Personal Col- 
lision — Current Comment — Mr. Lamar's Letter to Gen. Walthall — Press Com- 
ments on the Incident — Effect in Mississippi— Mr. Lamar's Views on Dueling. 377 

Mississippi Politics In 1879— Democratic Party Threatened with Disruption — 
Mr. Lamar's Position before the People — Letter to Wright — ^The Epidemic of 
1879 — Canvass of 1879 — The Right of Legislative Instruction Again — Question 
Kept in Agitation — Mr Lamar's Argument and Discussion of It — His Power 
as a Stump Speaker — Reception of His Speeches — Death of Mrs. Troutman— 
The Succession to Senator Bruce — Judge George Elected Senator — Mr. Lamar's 
Illness 394 

Returns to Washington — Interview with Blaine — ^The Exodus — Mr. Lamar's 
Views— The Voorhees Investigation Resolution— The Debate on the Commit- 
tee's Report— Mr. Lamar's Speech — Speech at the Democratic National Con- 
vention of 1880- Lafayette Springs Speech — Letter to Hon. J. W. C. Watson — 
Mrs. Lamar's Failing Health— Holly Springs Speech and Fall Canvass— The 
" Grant Bill "—The Executive Session of March, 1881— Political Complexion of 
the Senate — Virginia Readjusters — Senator Mahone — Struggle in the Senate 
over the Committees— Struggle over the Election of Officers — ^The Debate — Mr. 
Lamar's Speech — Its Reception 414 


Candidate for Reelection— Opposition and Complications— Cross Currents- Voice 
of the Press— Address at the A. and M. College— Progress of the Senatorial 
Question— The State Convention— A Setback or No?— Mr. Lamar's Great Can- 
vass of 1881— The DeKalb Speech— The Canton Speech— The Yazoo City 
Speech— Letter to Mcintosh— The Forest Speech— The Hazlehurst Speech— In- 
terest outside the State— Eeelection and Vindication 431 

Mrs. Lamar's Failing Health— The Tariff Speech of 1883— Press Comments- 
Speech on National Aid to Education— Presidential Campaign of 1884— The 
Holly Springs Speech- The Aberdeen Speech— The News of Cleveland's Elec- 
tion^Death of Mrs. Lamar— Senator Edmunds' Condolences — Letter to a 
Friend— The Sherman-Davis Imbroglio— Senator Hawley's Resolution- The 
Debate— Mr. Lamar's Speech, and His Last^Letter to West on Davis and Se- 
cession 449 

3Ir. Lamar Discussed as a Possible Member of the Cabinet^Cleveland's Inaugu- 
ration—The Cabinet Named and Confirmed— Comments and Congratulations — 
Calls for Resignations of Heads of Departments— Mr. Lamar's Methods — Sale of 
the Government Carriages— The Land Office— The "Backbone" Patents— The 
Death of Jacob Thompson— The Throng of Office Seekers— Views on Office- 
holding in Washington — Limitations in the Bestowal of Offices— Civil Service 
Reform — Watchfulness over Character of Subordinates — Freedom from Ne- 
potism — First Annual Report — Management of the Indian Bureau — The Re- 
port on the Indians — The Report on the Public Lands — The Report on the 
Railroads— The Report on the Pensions — Minor Subjects— Education— The 
Second Annual Report— The Third Annual Report— Third Report on Public 
Lands — Adjustment of the Railroad Land Grants — Third Report on Indians — 
Minor Titles 469 

Anecdotes of Mr. Lamar — Honorary Degree Conferred by Harvard University — 
Second Marriage— Oration on John C. Calhoun — Speech at Banquet of New ' 
York Chamber of Commerce — Death of Mr. Justice Woods, of the Supreme 
Court — Mr. Lamar Discussed as the Successor — Correspondence — Nominated 
by the President — Objections to Confirmation— Correspondence — Complexion 
of the Senate — Resigns Office of Secretary — Character as an Administrative 
Officer 506 

Senator Stewart's Letter on Lamar for the Supreme Court — Senator Walthall's 
Friendship — Adverse Report by the Judiciary Committee — Confirmed — Press 
Comments — The Burial of the Bloody Shirt- — Congratulations — Installed in 
Office — Labors as a Judge — Character as a Judge — The Neagle Case — Kidd vs. 
Pearson — Lamar's Opinions — Enjoys His Work — Anecdote — Work on the Cir- 
cuit — Interviewed on Cleveland's Administration — Address at Emory College 
— Letter to Barker on Mississippi Politics — Address at Center College — Letter 
to Mr. Cleveland — Letter on Chief Justice Marshall — Reminiscences of Mr. 
Lamar's Last Summer — Joins the Church — Religious Experience and Character. 533 

10 LVflVH Q. a LAMAR. . 

Failing Health— Diagnosis— Illness, April, 1892— Visit to Macon, Ga.— Death- 
Action of Supreme Court — Congress — Interior Department — Reception of the 
News in Mississippi— In Other States— In Georgia— Proceedings in Macon, Ga. 
—The Obsequies— Dr. Candler's Sermon— Bishop Fitzgerald's Discourse— Bar 
Meeting of the Supreme Court of the United States— Mr. Vilas' Remarks— Sen- 
ator Walthall's Tribute— Hon. J. Randolph Tucker's Remarks— In the Supreme 
CourtH-The Remarks of the Attorney-general— The Response of the Chief Jus- 
tice-Resolutions of Illinois State Bar Association— The Removal of Mr. La- 
mar's Remains to Oxford, Miss. — Conclusion ^^^ 


1. Tribute of Hon. Blanche K. Bruce, ex-Senator 593 

2. Tribute of Senator George F. Hoar, of Massachusetts 594 

3. Tribute of Rev. Charles B. Galloway, Bishop of the Methodist Church, South.. 594 

4. Extract from Address of Hon. John L. T. Sneed, at the Meeting of the Mem- 

phis Bar 596 

5. Tribute of ex-Chief Justice James M. Arnold 598 

(i. Study by Harry Pratt Judson, Head Dean of the Chicago University 600 

7. Resolutions of the Legislature of North Dakota 602 

8. Collection of Newspaper Comments 603 


1. Speech on Kansas and Nicaraguan Affairs : House, January 13, 1858 609 

2. Speech before the Legislature at Jackson, Miss., November 3, 1858 618 

3. Speech on the Election of Speaker: House, December 7, 1859 621 

4. Speech on Southern Slavery and Slaveholders: House, February 21, 1860 624 

5. Letter to P. F. Liddell, December 10, 1860, on Formation of a Confederacy. . . 633 

6. Credentials to Russia, November, 1862 639 

7. Speech on the State of the Country (Confederacy) : April 14, 1864 .' 639 

8. Letter on the Character of Robert E. Lee, December 5, 1870 656 

9. Speech on Misrule in the Southern States: House, June 8, 1874 659 

10. Letter of H. C. Carter on Carpetbag Misgovernment, April 25, 1874 669 

11. Speech on the Centennial Celebration; House, January 25, 1876 670 

12. Speech on Parliamentary Privilege (Belknap Case): House, March 7, 1876. . . 674 

13. Speech on the Southern Policy of the Republican Party, etc.: House, August 

2, 1876 682 

14. Speech on the Electoral Commission: House, January 25, 1877 698 

15. Speech (Undelivered) on the Electoral Count: House, February, 1877 699 

16. Speech on the Payment of Government Bonds in Silver: Senate, January 24, 

1878 701 

17. Article on the Enfranchisement of the Negro — North American Bedew, March, 

1879 719 

18. Speech on the Exodus of Negroes from Southern States: Senate, June 14, 1880 723 

19. Speech on Placing Gen. Grant on the Retired Army List: Senate, Januarv 25, 

1881 ". ... 738 

20. Speech on the Election of Officers in the Senate: Senate, April 1, 1881 739 

21. Speech on the Tariff: Senate, February 7, 1883 748 

22. Speech on National Aid to Education: Senate, March 28, 1884 774 

23. Oration on Life and Services of John C. Calhoun: Charleston, April 26, 1887. 779 

24. Speech at Emory College, June 24, 1890 801 



1. Justice Lamae Frontispiece. 

2. Mirabeau B. Lamar 16 

3. Judge Lucius Q. C. Lamar, of Georgia 20 

4. Rev. Augustus B. Longstreet 38 

5. Mississippi Senators and Congressmen at the Time of Secession (Group) 86 

6. Gen. Edward C. Walthall 118 

7. Liberal Republican Leaders, 1870-75 (Group) 168 

8. Charles Sumner 182 

9. Senator L. Q. C. Lamar 310 

10. Some Democratic Senators (Group) 352 

11. Some Republican Senators (Group) 378 

12. Mr. Lamar's Children (Group) 420 

13. President Cleveland and His Cabinet (Group) 486 

14. The Funeral of the Bloody Shirt 536 

15. The Supreme Court of 1891 (Group) 546 

16. Campus Views at Emory College 552 





The Family of Lamar — Thomas, the Immigrant — Thomas, His Son — John Lamar — 
Mirabeau B. Lamar — Lucius Q. 0. Lamar, the Elder — Micajah Williamson and Sa- 
rah Gilliam, His Wife— Dr. Thompson Bird and Susan Williamson, His Wife — Mrs. 
Sarah (Bird) Lamar. 

THERE is a tradition amongst the Lamars of Georgia that their 
family was of Huguenot origin, and was planted in Maryland by 
four brothers who fled from France in the celebrated exodus consequent 
upon the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. In part this report 
is probably correct; but there are public records still extant in Mary- 
land which show that the Georgia tradition is incomplete and, in de- 
tails, erroneous. 

In the early days of Maryland all of the papers which found their 
way into the records, and so have been preserved, were prepared by 
petty officials and lawyers who seem to have had very limited educa- 
tional advantages. The spelling of names varied almost with the num- 
ber of the documents in which they appeared; for example, Brown was 
spelled Broun, Brown, Browne, and Broune, all in instruments intended 
to convey property to the same individual. It seems also to have been 
customary for one person, in making deeds, to spell his own name in 
different ways, in order to conform exactly to the various spellings by 
which he had received conveyances of the properties alienated. It is 
not strange, therefore, that a Frenchman in an English colony should 
have his name spelled phonetically, and differently by different parties. 

It is more than probable that the first Lamars came to Maryland prior 
to the year 1663. There is a Maryland tradition that there were three 
brothers, Huguenots. If their religion formed any part of the motives 
which led them to seek the New World, the immediate cause certainly 
could not have been the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, but probably 
was only the general disfavor and oppression of Protestants under the 
administration of Cardinal Eichelieii following upon the destruction of 
Eochelle in 1628. 

Maryland being an English colony, the English laws obtained, and no 
immigrants could hold lands in fee except such as were of British na- 



tionality. In 1649 Lord Baltimore issued a circular to the people of 
France, Germany, and other countries, offering inducements to immi- 
grants to join his Maryland colony, and assuring to them the same priv- 
ileges as immigrants of English birth. On November 17, 1663, he 
granted a certificate of nationality — or " dennozacon," as it was called — 
wherein it was recited that 

Whereas Thomas and Peter Lamore, late of Virginia, and subjects of the crown of 
France, having transported themselves into this province here to abide, have besought 
us to grant them, the said Thomas and Peter Lamore, leave to here inhabit as free 
denizens, and freedom land to them and their heirs to purchase. Know ye, that we, 
willing to give encouragement to the subjects of that crown, do hereby declare them, 
the said Thomas and Peter Lamore, to be free denizens of this our province of Mary- 
land, etc. 

Various record entries and documents, extending from 1663 to 1684, 
give the names of these men, and of a John of the same name, as La- 
mer, Lamare, Lamair, Lamaire, De Le Maire, Lemaire, Lemarre, Le- 
marj Le Marr, and Lamar. Not infrequently the name was spelled va- 
riously in the same document. The records of this period are so per- 
fect that it would seem impossible to confound .these men and their fam- 
ilies with other persons. There are no names similar to these three. 

John Lamaire was naturalized about ten years after Thomas and Pe- 
ter, from which it is inferable that he came over at a later date. His 
naturalization papers showed that he, at least, was born in Anjou. 

Peter and Thomas " Lamore " located in what was then Calvert County, 
on the Patuxent River, and engaged in planting; while John, who was 
a doctor, as the records show by numerous administrator's accounts, 
settled in the more populous community of Port Tobacco, the county 
seat of Charles County. 

However, all of this is more or less speculative. What is certain is 
that Peter Lamer's will is of record, dated in 1693; while that of Thom- 
as Lamar, dated October 4, 1712, is also recorded, and shows that he 
was then living in Prince George's County. By that instrument he left 
what seems to have been quite a considerable estate, both in Maryland 
and in England, to his wife, Ann, and to his two sons, Thomas and John. 

The second Thomas also left a will. It is dated May 11, 1747. He 
distributed a large estate between his six sons and two sons-in-law, by 
name. In the year 1755 three of those sons ( Robert, Thomas, and John) 
and one of the sons-in-law (Clementius Davis) on the same day sold 
their lands to the Rev. John Urquhart, " Minister of Al-Faith Parish in 
Saint Mary's County," their mother's brother, and moved down into 
South Carolina and Georgia, settling at Beach Island and on the Geor- 
gia side of the Savannah River. This settlement in these Southern col- 
onies may have given rise in later years to the Georgia tradition that 
four brothers came to America. 


John Lamar, son of John, was grandson of the John who moved to 
Georgia. He was born in the year 1769, and married his cousin-german, 
Bebecca Lamar. That union produced nine children who attained ma- 
turity. Four were sons ( Lucius .Quintus Cincinnatus, Thomas, Ran- 
dolph, Mirabeau Buonaparte, and Jefferson Jackson) and five were 
daughters (Mrs. Evalina Harvey, Mrs. Mary A. Moreland, Mrs. Aurelia 
Eandle, Mrs. Louisa McGehee, and Mrs. Loretto H. Chappell). 

This John Lamar, the grandfather of Justice Lamar, was a planter, 
and a thrifty one. His residence was for a time in' Warren County; 
but later in Putnam, eight or ten miles south of Eaton ton. Here, about 
"the year 1810, he established what is still locally known as the '"old La- 
mar homestead," now the property of Mr. Mark Johnson. The house 
.still stands in good condition: a fine, old-fashioned, two-story, frame 
building, constructed after the strong and enduring models of that 
period. Little River winds near by, and cultivated fields offer a wide 
prospect. Here for many years, in great happiness and moderate pros- 
perity, lived the old couple. 

With them lived a bachelor brother, Zachariah — a self-taught man— who,like many 
of the men in old plantation times, gave himself up to the ideal world of literature 
and history, without any further purpose than the enjoyments of that fairyland. 
These honest, happy — some might consider them useless — members of society belong 
to an extinct fauna, but they were loved and revered and humored in iheir day and 
little circles. This Lamar was one of this sort, perhaps its most striking example. 
Over all his immediate surroundings was cast the glamour of that realm of letters in 
which he lived. When he led in family prayer, good Methodists that they were, he 
did not think it inapt to thank God for the heroic examples of Roman or English or 
American history, for the march of science, or for exemption from the crimes and mis- 
eries of less favored lands into which his geographical studies had last led him. So when 
son after son was born to the head of the house this bookish enthusiast claimed the 
privilege of naming his infant nephews after his favorite of the moment, and the 
amiable and doubtless amused parents consented. Thus Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus, 
Mirabeau Buonaparte, Jefferson Jackson, Thomas Randolph, and Lavoisier Legrand 
(a grandchild) indicate how hip interest shifted from history to politics, and from 
politics to chemistry.* 

At this old homestead, buried in a quiet garden, by the side of his 
daughter Evalina, lies John. His grave is kept in excellent order, and 
over him is a slab bearing the following inscription, written by his son 
Mirabeau: ^ 

In memory of John Lamar, who died August 3, 1833, aged sixty-four years. He 
was a man of unblemished honor, of pure and exalted benevolence, whose conduct 
through life was uniformly regulated by the strictest principles of probity, truth, and 
justice; thus leaving behind him, as the best legacy to his children, a noble example 
of consistent virtue. In his domestic relations he was greatly blessed, receiving from 
every member of a large family unremitting demonstrations of respect, love, and obe- 

* William Preston .Tohnstoh, in the Favmer^s World nf February 5, 1879. 


That is the testimony of a son. Here is the impartial evidence of one 
who was connected by no such endearing tie. In the " Bench and Bar 
of Georgia" Hon. Joel Crawford says this: 

Though not a rich man, Mr. John Lamar, by dint of industry and good manage- 
ment, found means to give his children the best education which the schools of the 
country afforded. None of them had the benefit of a college course, nor were they (it 
is believed) acquainted with the ancient classics or any other language but English. 
But, if the children of this worthy man did not bring into practical life any great 
amount of literary and scientific lore, they certainly brought what was infinitely more 
valuable : mind, morals, and most of the virtues which elevate and adorn it. In the 
regimen of no other family were strict veracity, temperance in all things, probity, and 
benevolence more peremptorily and successfully inculcated. 

John Lamar had the rare good fortune that two of his sons achieved 
distinction. Of these, Mirabeau, the younger, was born iu 1798. He 
was a man of considerable genius and of great versatility ' of talent. 
Writer, soldier, lawyer, statesman, and diplomatist — in each career he 
was successful, and in some brilliant. . Beginning life as a planter and 
merchant, he cultivated letters; and in 1828 established the Columbus 
Inquirer, a State rights paper. Some of the best essays upon the gov- 
ernment of the United States, which appeared in the public press of 
Georgia, were from his pen; and later he proved a capacity for poetiy 
of no mean order, publishing a volume of " Verse Memorials." 

He was already distinguished for eloquence when he came to Texas, in 1835, to aid 
the constitutional cause, and is said to have been the first to declare publicly for inde- 
pendence. He was not less ardent as a soldier than as a speaker; and, in the cavalry 
skirmish on the day before the battle of San Jacinto, saved the life of Gen. Rusk by a 
free exposure of his own. He was conspicuous for gallantry at San Jacinto, and, hav- 
ing first served as Attorney General, was soon after appointed Secretary of War by 
President Burnet, and was elected Vice President in 1836. His impetuous valor, en- 
thusiastic temper, and unselfish aspirations for the honor and welfare of his country, 
made him the fit choice of Texas as her President. Lamar was a man of high, un- 
bending honor; his native gifts were fine: largeness and brilliancy of conception, 
fancy, eloquence, readiness, and courage. Though ardent,impulsive, and open to pres- 
ent impressions, sometimes, especially in seasons of ill health, he gave way to the re- 
action that displays itself in waywardness, dejection, and lassitude. But he was brave, 
affectionate, open as the day, lofty, and magnanimous. ...... 

To the eloquent appeals of Lamar are due the foundations of the educational sys- 
tem of Texas, and the consecration of noble grants of public lands to the school and 
university funds. By him, too, a great tide of corruption and public plunder was 
suddenly stopped.* 

After the annexation of Texas Mirabeau Lamar served efficiently in 
the Mexican War! In 1857 he was appointed United States Minister to 
the Argentine Republic, and in 1858 to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. 
He died in the year 1859. Between him and Justice Lamar existed the 
deepest attachment and mutual admiration. His rare combination of 
qualities, his fiery and chivalric nature, his enthusiasm, his patriotism 

* William Prestun .Johnston, in " Life of Gen. A. S. .Jnhnst-n," pp. 93, 94. 



and fervid partisanship — all strongly drew and deeply influenced the 
nascent character of his observant and thoughtful young nephew. 

As a specimen of the literary style of Mirabeau Lamar the following 
lyric, which does not appear in the "Yerse Memorials," is given. The 
poem is the last he wrote, and was inspired by a rarely beautiful wom- 
an whom he saw in Central America. 


O lend to me, sweet nightingale, 

Your music by the fountains ! 
And lend to me your cadences, 

O river of the mountains! 
That I may sing my gay brunette 

A diamond spark in coral set. 
Gem for a prince's coronet — 

The daughter of Mendoza. 

How brilliant is the morning star! 

The evening star, how tender! 
The light of both is in her eye, 

Their softness and their splendor. 
But for the lash that shades their light. 

They were too dazzling for the sight; 
And when she shuts them all is night— ^ 

The daughter of Mendoza. 

O! ever bright and beauteous one. 

Bewildering and beguiling, 
The lute is in thy silvery tones, 

The rainbow in thy smiling. 
And thine is, too, o'er hill and dell. 

The bounding of the young gazelle. 
The arrow's flight and ocean's swell — 

Sweet daughter of Mendoza! 

What though, perchance, we meet no more? 

What though too soon we sever? 
Thy form will float like emerald light. 

Before my vision ever. 
For who can see and then forget 

The glories of my gaj' brunette? 
Thou art too bright a star to set — 

Sweet daughter of Mendoza! 

Lucius Q. 0. Lamar, the father of the late Justice, was John La- 
mar's oldest son. Born in Warren County, on the 15th of July, 1797, 
he passed the most of his early youth in Putnam, to which county his 
father had removed. Much of his time was spent behind the counter 
as a salesman; but in 1816 he began the study of law in the office of 
Hon. Joel Crawford, at Milledgeville. Reading with great diligence, 
he acquired, amongst other things, accuracy in pleading. After twelve 
months or more he repaired to the celebrated law school of Judges 


Eeeve and Gould, at Litchfield, Conn. Aboiit the year 1818, having 
been admitted to practice in the courts of law and equity in Georgia, 
he opened an office in Milledgeville. There, on the 10th of March, 
1819, he married Sarah W. Bird, daughter of Dr. Thompson Bird, an 
eminent physician of that city. 

Though few young lawyers have brought to the bar higher qualifications, he lacked 
some, and for a few years his prospects were anything but bright. While 
others, with not a tithe of his genius or learning, v. ere seen to be reaping rich har- 
vests of fees and crowded with clients, he remained poor and almost briefless. How 
and why did this happen? Courage, truth, and honor were among the most con- 
spicuous elements of his character, and he seemed to have the esteem and confidence 
of every one. But he could not court clients nor solicit patronage; his characteristic 
independence and legitimate self-esteem would not tolerate even the semblance of 
unworthy condescension. He doubtless wanted what is commonly called address: he 
had no turn for frivolous chat, story-telling, anecdotes, etc. In short, he lacked those 
qualifications on which humbler natures rely for conciliating popular favor. 

When quite young in his profession Mr. Lamar was chosen by the Legislature to 
compile the laws of Georgia from 1810 to 1820. He arranged the several acts under 
their appropriate divisions, and made such references and explanations in notes as 
were necessary to show what had been repealed or modified. The result of his la- 
bors was reported to Gov. Clark in 1821, and by him was accepted after a careful 
examination at the hands of a committee. It was then published in a quarto vol- 
ume of thirteen hundred pages, constituting Volume III. of the " Georgia Statutes.'' 

Mr. Lamar also revised Clayton's "Georgia Justice" (now rarely 
found) about 1819. 

In the summer of 1821 Judge Crawford, who had retired from the 
practice some four or five years before, resumed it, and Lamar be- 
came his partner. 

This copartnership by its terms was limited to three years, and before the expira- 
tion of that time Lamar had so many opportunities of exhibiting proofs of his great 
legal ability tliat he never afterwards wanted clients or fees. 

Mr. Lamar doubtless had ambition — a legitimate ambition — to acquire by merito- 
rious actions that fame and fortune which may at all times be justly awarded to use- 
ful and brilliant achievements; but he had an insuperable aversion to catching oflSce 
as a mere fortuitous windfall, or getting it by surrendering himself to the arbitrary 
management of a political party. Under the influence of such generous self-denial, 
he more than once refused his name as a candidate when success was little less than 
certain. His conduct when Thomas W. Cobb (about the fall of 1828) became a candi- 
date for the bench of the Ocmulgee circuit will serve to exemplify some of the lofty 
traits which belonged to his character. 

Mr. Cobb was an experienced and confessedly an able lawyer; had been for 
many years a respectable member of Congress, desired to continue in the public serv- 
ice, but, in the decline of life, preferred a station nearer home. The popularity, 
however, which had carried him three terms to the House of Representatives, and 
afterwards to the Senate of the United States, now forsook him. He was beaten on 
joint vote of the General Assembly by a large majority; but, for some cause best 
known to himself, his successful opponent within a few days resigned the commis- 
sion of judge, and the vacancy had again to be filled. Cobb's friends again present- 
ed his name, and Lamar was importuned to offer as a rival candidate. Had he con- 
sented, his election was morally certain; but he had a becoming respect for Mr. 


Cobb's seniority and past services, was no stranger to the unworthy motives of those 
who were most intent on a second defeat, nor to the plasticity of that ill-organized 
college of electors, the General Assembly. His refusal was peremptory, and Mr. 
Cobb was permitted to take the office he so much coveted. 

Before the term for which Mr. Cobb had been elected expired, his death made a 
vacancy which Mr. Lamar could honorably consent to fill. He came then, on the 
4th of November, 1830, while only in his thirty-fourth year, into oiRce on such con- 
ditions as met his approbation, and continued until the day of his own lamented 
death to discharge its duties with signal ability, and with public applause which few 
in judicial stations have had the good fortune to receive. 

He presided with great dignity, and was most effective in the dispatch of busi- 
ness. No one who knew the man ever ventured on an act of rudeness or disrespect 
to his court ; yet every person whose deportment was worthy of it had unfailing as- 
surances of his kindness. His lectures of instruction to the grand juries, at the 
opening of a term, were delivered in admirable style; and his charges to special and 
petit juries in the trial of difficult and much-litigated cases might well serve as mod- 
els to any bench. 

As specimens of Judge Lamar's style and reasoning on legal topics, 
reference may be made to two cases in Dudley's "Beports:" Brewster 
vs. Hardeman and Kendrick vs. the Central Bank, the latter sustaining 
notes when the statute required bonds. They are both fine instances. 
A remarkable case was one which was brought from Jasper before the 
convention of Judges. It was well argued, was thoroughly discussed, 
and the authorities examined by the Convention, Judge Lamar 
leading the convention to adopt his view. An opinion was rendered 
unanimously. During the succeeding interval before the next conven- 
tion he met with a case which gave him a new view. He pursued the 
examination closely during several weeks. When the next convention 
assembled, he stated what had occurred, and that his opinion had un- 
dergone an entire change. The authorities were reviewed, criticised, 
and applied by the convention, and it unanimously reversed its former 
decision. Judge Lamar leading both times the argument, and writing 
out the final decision of the judges. This remarkable episode furnishes 
a high proof of his mental powers and intellectual and moral integrity; 
more especially when it is remembered that William H. Crawford, 
Judge Law, Judge Dougherty, and perhaps Judge Warner, were mem- 
bers of the convention. Of this decision, and of that of Brewster vs. 
Hardeman, Hon. Joseph Henry Lumpkin says, that they "may be 
placed on a level with the best productions of the American or Eng- 
lish bench." 

Nothing delighted him more than for his brethren of the bar to mingle literary 
anecdote or classical allusion in their arguments. He was a great admirer of Hugh 
S. Legare, of South Carolina, as presenting the finest model of the profound lawyer 
and accomplished scholar; and such, since Legare's death, was the judgment of 
Mr. Justice Story. 

From boyhood Judge Lamar was a lover of books, reading with good effect al- 
most everything that came within his reach, but had a decided partiality for poetry. 


and other works of imagination. In after life he was distinguished for his attain- 
ment in belles-lettres, for the classic purity of his compositions, and for his forensic 
eloquence. He was fond of politics, and wrote many articles of that nature for pub- 

His active genius, lofty virtues, and profound erudition would have given eclat to 
any name. There is no instance in England or America where a judge so rapidly 
gained public favor. In less than four years from his accession to the bench he was 
commonly known as "the great Judge Lamar,'' and was its brightest luminary. He 
could not have been displaced; there was no desire felt by his political opponents 
to give his office to another; and it was his singular merit, his crowning glory, that 
both Union and State rights men would equally have renewed his commission. 
And, to complete his blessings, he was happy in his domestic circle. Wife and chil- 
dren, relatives and friends, everybody loved him, and he loved all. 

Yet amid all this innocence and honor and felicity a withering bolt 
fell; -and Judge Lamar's sudden death occurred on the 4th of July, 
1834, when he was thirty-seven years of age. 

A lengthy and beautiful " Tribute of Kespect " was adopted by the 
bar of the Baldwin Superior Court, from which the following extract is 
taken : 

At the bar he was an ingenious and able advocate and excellent jurist. Possessing 
a mind far above the ordinary grade, distinguished alike for acuteness and discrimi- 
nation, it could grapple with the giant difficulties of the science and master its abstruse 
theories. On the bench he exhibited a soundness of judgment and depth of learning 
beyond his years. His candor, ingenuousness, and modesty were no less conspicuous 
than his amenity and kindness to all in any way connected with the administration 
of justice. His expositions of the law, his charges and instructions to juries, were uni- 
formly marked by precision, beauty, and eloquence, imparting interest to the subject 
and instruc'tion to the hearer. Devoting himself to the arduous duties of his station, 
he seldom erred in judgment; but, ever anxious that his judicial opinions should be 
correct, he sought. occasion for their revision, and, with the noble impulse of an up- 
right mind, rejoiced in the opportunity for their revision. Always guided by human- 
ity, he truly administered justice in mercy. To the youthful aspirant for professional 
distinction he was indeed a friend, exciting his ardor, aiding his exertions, commend- 
ing his efiForts, alluring him onward, and extending a fostering hand for his support 
when difficulties surrounded him. 

In all the relations of private life he was blameless, ever kind, ardent, and affec- 
tionate. Of unblemished integrity and pure morals, no whisper injurious to either 
ever rested on his name. He was beloved for his amiable disposition, his bland de- 
portment, his noble frankness, and his generous sentiments.* 

Judge Lamar had eight children, five of whom attained maturity. 
The sons were Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus, Thompson Bird, and Jeffer- 
son Mirabeau. The daughters were Mrs. Susan E. Wiggins and Mary 
Ann, who first married James C. Longstreet, Esq., and afterwards John 
B. Eoss, of Macon, Ga. 

The maternal ancestors of Justice Lamar are historic in Georgia. 
They should be briefly noticed, not only because they are noteworthy in 

* These quotations are from the " Bench and Bar ol Georgia; " title, " L. Q. C. Lamar." 



themselves, but also because both by inheritance and by education they 
materially contributed to the production in him of those qualities of 
mind and soul with which he was endowed, as well as the sentiments by 
which his life was greatly influenced. The women especially were at 
once lovely and heroic. Sarah Gilliam, Susan Williamson, and Sarah 
Bird were all of such sort as was the Roman Cornelia. 

The first is believed to have been a niece of the Eev. Devereux Jarratt, 
the celebrated Episcopalian divine of Virginia. A native of Henrico 
County, Va., and descended from a Huguenot stock, she married Mica- 
jah Williamson, of Bedford County, whose grandfather was from the 
North of Ireland, and who was himself a man of quite considerable 
wealth. The two, in the year 1768, moved to Georgia and settled in 
Wilkes County, where Mr. Williamson purchased a valuable plantation 
from Col. Alston, giving him sixty negroes in exchange therefor. 
Wilkes County was then on the frontier, and subject to great afflictions 
from Indian aggressions. Here and then, and in the later stormy days 
of the great Revolution, the Williamsons were conspicuous from both 
their services and their sufferings. 

The country was almost a wilderness. The houses of settlers were 
built as near together as possible, for union and for capacity of fortify- 
ing against hostile attacks. In the Indian wars Williamson became 
prominent. He was brave but prudent, and inspired such confidence as 
made him by common consent a leader. He soon became intimate with 
Elijah Clarke, even then the most prominent man of that region, and 
later a colonel in the continental army. Their intimacy continued 
through the Revolution. In that struggle they were associated in the 
army of the South, which was assigned to protect the western frontier 
of Georgia. Williamson was Clarke's lieutenant colonel and was his 
chief dependence. In all hazardous enterprises requiring skill, caution, 
and perseverance he was selected to command. This, of course, im- 
mensely increased his risks, and he was more frequently wounded than 
any other officer in the command. The scene of this war was in the im- 
mediate neighborhood of his home, and his wonderful wife was not only 
a witness of many of the conflicts, but also often a participant in them. 
Hers was a character as marked as was that of her husband. While he 
was in the field fighting she was in the fields at home supervising the 
management of the farm, and contriving to support a large family of 
sons and daughters. In one of the inroads of the English, Tories, and 
Indians, during the absence of Col. Williamson with his command, 
their house and outbuildings were burned, with all their movables. A 
son, a youtli of twelve years, was hung in the presence of his mother. 
Following this a proclamation was issued, offering a large reward for the 
head of Col. Williamson. The wife and children were forced to flee to 
the mountains of North Carolina for safety. This was near the end of 


the war. It was only on the cessation of hostilities that the suffering 
family returned "to their desolated fields. Then Williamson went to 
work to repair his shattered fortunes. A few slaves were left; and, 
uniting with theirs the labor of himself and his sons, the farm was cul- 
tivated actively and successfully. He also kept an inn in the town of 
Washington. In a few years he was again comparatively independent, 
and directed as best he coald the education of his family. In this his 
wife, who was well educated for the times, assisted. But the fatigues, 
the wounds, and the anxieties of the troubled life he had, added to the 
severe labors of the reclamation, broke down the old soldier's constitu- 
tion. He died in 1795, aged about sixty years. 

Col. Williamson left five sons and six daughters. The sons were 
Charles, Peter, Micajah, William, and Thomas Jefferson. The daugh- 
ters were Mrs. Nancy Clarke, Mrs. Sarah Griffin, Mrs. Susan Bird, Mrs. 
Martha Fitch, Mrs. Elizabeth Thweat, and Mrs. Mary Campbell. 

It was a most remarkable family of women. They were celebrated for 
their beauty and intellects. Any one of them would have made a home 
distinguished, and no sisters ever took a wider hold upon a State. Mrs. 
Clarke was the wife of Gen. John Clarke, afterwards Governor of the 
State. Mrs. Griffin was twice married; both husbands were judges, and 
the second, Hon. Charles Tait, served two terms in the United States 
Senate. The husbands of Mrs. Bird, Mrs. Fitch, and Mrs. Thweat were 
all men of high standing and influence. Mrs. Campbell was the wife of 
Hon. Duncan G. Campbell, a lawyer of prominence, who was one of the 
two commissioners of the United States who negotiated the treaty 
whereby the Creeks surrendered their lands in Georgia and Alabama; 
and she became the mother of the Hon. John A. Campbell, late Justice of 
the Supreme Court of the United States. It is believed that the William- 
son family occupy the unique position that it was the first in the United 
States to give two of its members to that great tribunal, since the com- 
mission of Judge Campbell antedated that of Justice Field, while Jus- 
tice Lamar was appointed before Justice Brewer. 

Dr. Thompson Bird, the husband of Mrs. Susan ( W^illiamson ) Bird, 
and the grandfather of Justice Lamar, was a son of Empson Bird, of 
Cecil Coiinty, Md., who died there in 1787. Thompson graduated at 
William and Mary, and afterwards at the celebrated medical college 
in Philadelphia. His older half-sister, Mrs. Mary Montgomery, and 
her husband (from whom are descended a fine family of that name), 
having found their way to Georgia, induced Thompson to follow them. 
He settled first in Milledgeville, and later at Macon, at which place he 
died July 8, 1828. He was one of the most eminent, successful, and 
popular physicians in the State. His nature was frank and generous; 
quick to resent an injury, he was yet easily conciliated. He was dis- 


tinguished for hospitality; and his cheerfulness and vivacity gave him 
great prestige in society. For example, in 1823 he was selected to pre- 
side over the festal board at the first banquet ever given in the then 
newly organized county of Bibb in commemoration of the Declaration of 
Independence. His superior skill and many personal virtues secured 
for him a high place in popular esteem. 

However, the chief interest along this branch of the family history 
gathers about Mrs. Bird. The personal and mental graces, the intel- 
lectual and spiritual glory of a perfect woman — who shall paint them? 
And who shall sound the mysterious ways in which God moves to per- 
form his wonders ? or guess why it is that a star whose brightness and 
serenity seem worthy of a cloudless heaven shall yet go down in dark 
clouds and in storm? This magnificent woman died, under the most 
tragical and dramatic circumstances, of a broken heart. 

Her sister, Mrs. Fitch, with her husband and children, lived at St. 
Augustine. Attracted by them, thither also had gone Mrs. Bird's only 
son then living, just entering upon manhood, a most amiable and gifted 
young man, who when only twenty-one years of age had been appointed 
United States Attorney for the Territory. To him his uncle and aunt 
were very kind. On one fatal occasion in the fall of 1821, while trav- 
eling off the coast, Mr. Fitch found floating on the ocean a mattress 
which seemed to be good. He had it taken aboard, dried it, and slept 
upon it. The result was yellow fever. This dread disease spread. 
When it became epidemic Mrs. Bird wrote to her son, praying him to 
come away; but in the meantime every member of his aunt's family 
had been taken ill, and she, rising from her bed of sickness, threw her 
arms about her nephew and implored him not to leave her in her de- 
spair. He knew that to stay was death; but he wrote his mother 
that he must meet his fate; and stay he did, and died November 15, 
with his uncle, his aunt, and both of his cousins. From this blow 
his mother never recovered. Her grief was supposed to have in- 
duced organic disease of the heart. 

On the 22d of March, 1822, Mrs. Bird's niece, Nancy Clarke, the 
daughter of the Governor, was married to John W. Campbell, the 
younger brother of Hon. Duncan G. Campbell. Mrs. Bird laid aside 
her mourning, if not her sorrow, and assisted in the preparation for 
the wedding. When the ceremony was over, she approached the hap- 
py and blushing bride, kissed her, wiped from her eyes the gathering 
tears, and said, "Dear Nancy, if your happiness shall be equal to my 
wishes, you will never know misery. Excuse me now, I am fatigued 
and must go home." She kissed her niece again, and left the draw- 

The elite of the young people of the State were present. Everybody knew Nan- 
cy Clarke, and everybody loved her, and was responding in mirth to her happiness. 


The clock struck twelve, the dancers were upon the floor, when that stern old man, 
Gov. Clarke, with his military stride, entered the room, and authoritatively said: 
"Stop this!" All were startled, and an instantaneous silence ensued. There was a 
pause of a moment, when the Governor said: '• Mrs. Bird is dead. " * 

Aye; tbe wrung heart had ceased froao its labors, and the stricken 
mother had fallen on sleep, slain through the noble conduct of her du- 
tiful and loving son. Again was illustrated the singular and terrible 
fact that acts of the highest virtue and those of the lowest depravity 
often lead to the same bitter result; that in the strange complexity of 
this mysterious life many of the purest altars bear the burden of that 
tremendous offering, the broken heart. 

The mother of Justice Lamar, Sarah Williamson Bird, was born in 
Milledgeville on the 24th of February, 1802. She was married when 
only seventeen years of age. Left a widow by the cruel stroke already 
narrated, at thirty-two, with five young children to rear, she was not 
overwhelmed by so great a calamity, but bravely gathered her men- 
tal and moral forces to meet the duties cast upon her. In her widow- 
hood she was not altogether alone, for she had many warm ^nd devoted 
'friends, both of her husband and of her own. She was spared the sharp 
bitterness of poverty. Her husband left her a comfortable property, 
which was considerably increased by the skillful management of his 
brother, Mr. Jefferson Lamar. Her daughters were educated at good 
boarding schools; her oldest son, Lucius, at Emory College; her second 
son, Thompson B., at the same institution, and afterwards at the Jef- 
ferson Medical College, in Philadelphia; and her youngest son, Jeffer- 
son M., at the University of Mississippi. 

In July, 1851, after remaining a widow for seventeen years, she was 
married to Col. Hiram B. Troutman, of Vineville, near Macon, Ga., and 
removed to his home, where she lived until her death. 

She had much in this world — beauty, intellect, education, social po- 
sition, a competency, admiration, friends, dutiful and bright children — 
and she had need of them all, for her life was often stricken by the 
sharpest darts of agony. First, was the great shock of her brother's 
death, followed by that of her mother. Then came that of her hus- 
band. In the year 1858, her youngest daughter's husband, James C. 
Longstreet, to whom she was tenderly attached, died. In September, 
1862, her youngest son, then a lieutenant colonel of Cobb's Legion, 
fell while leading his command in the engagement at Crampton's Gap. 
In May, 1864, her eldest daughter, Mrs. Wiggins, passed away after 
losing both of her children, and after a painful illness protracted 
through several years. In 1864, also, her second son, then colonel of 
the Fifth Florida, was killed in a battle near Petersburg. In the clos- 
ing period of her life, there came both upon her and upon her second 

* Col. Sparks, in the A tlanla Constitution; article, " Old Families of Geo gia." 


husband, the companion of her old age, the great shadow of darkness, 
the horror of blindness. But amid all these continuing troubles she 
had the great consolation. From early life a humble and devout Meth- 
odist, the native strength of her character was not her only resource. 
She had taken the eternal truths into her heart, her feet were planted 
firmly upon the Eock of Ages, and her hand was clasped closely in that 
of the loving Christ. On the 31st of October, 1879, she died suddenly 
of heart disease. It was her last request that her body be taken to 
Milledgeville, and there be buried by the side of her first husband. 

A few of the tributes paid to this noble lady will be given here in or- 
der to illustrate her own character, as well as that of her son. An 
obituary by the Eev. G. G. Smith says: 

She was one of the most elegant women in a circle of women of rare accomplish- 
ments. . . . She presided over a large establishment and dispensed a queenly- 
hospitality. ... I have known few such women. She was accomplished, talent- 
ed, dignified, pious. She adorned every circle into which she was thrown. In pros- 
perity she was not proud, in adversity she was not despondent. She had a true 
Christian faith, and it sustained her through all the varying circumstances of a sadly 
checkered life. I have known her all my life, and never knew aught but good of her. 
She was truly an elect lady, and sleeps in Jesus. 

The Rev. Joseph S. Key, now Bishop Key, said: 

She lived and died loved and honored by all who knew her. Endowed by nature 
with great beauty of person and amiability of disposition, she added the graces of 
education and culture, and laid all these in consecration at Jesus' feet. Religion 
with her was no mere profession or theory; it was an experience felt and seen. She 
literally " put on the Lord Jesus Christ," and to her dying day through good and ill il- 
lustrated him. Her last years were years of testing. Blindness came first upon her, 
and then upon her husband. She anticipated its coming, and stored her memory 
with many precious passages of scripture on which to dwell in meditation in the 
darkness. A most touching sight it was to see the two aged saints sitting together, 
under the cloud of their blindness, repeating to each other the promises and hopes of 
the Word of God. The stroke which took her off was sudden and unexpected, leav- 
ing no opportunity for dying testimony. It was not needed. Her life was monu- 
mental goodness. Her end was peace. 

The blindness of which Bishop Key spoke was relieved before her 
death, as also was that of her husband, by successful operations for cat- 

Judge John A. Campbell, under date of November 3, 1879, wrote to 
his own sister: 

My Dear Rebecca: I was grieved to receive your notice of the death of my cousin 
Sarah, Mrs. Troutman. I remember her a long while ago, when I was but a boy, as 
she was at Aunt Griffin's. I remember her aa I saw her about 1821, newly married, 
when I went to Milledgeville. I remember her as I saw her after my return from 
West Point in 1829. I have seen her since. She was much connected in my mind 
with mother, of whom she reminded me. I held her in the highest esteem and re- 
spect. There were sincerity, truth, gentleness, good breeding, high honor, religious 
culture, and refinement in her demeanor and in her thoughts. I felt proud of her as 


a relation by blood. I cannot too s^trongly express my sympathy for Col. Troutnian. 
Please tell him how much I grieve with him. 

The gentleness and good breeding to which Judge Campbell referred 
produced one of the most striking of Mrs. Troutman's personal traits. 
This was her most unusually soft and low voice. Hardly audible across 
a small room, it was never raised, even in moments of intensest excite- 
ment. Nothing could induce her to speak loudly. 

This review of the ancestry of Justice Lamar shows how completely 
and wholly he was a Southerner. Himself born and reared in Georgia 
and adopted by Mississippi, his forefathers to the remotest generations 
in America, so far as known without exception, were citizens of the 
States of Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia. Every inherited trait and 
predisposition, every tradition, every feature of his education — all of his 
instincts and all of his teaching — were distinctively and strongly 


The Old Lamar Homestead — The Old Georgia-Conference Manual-Labor School — Lu- 
cius' Character and Habits as a Child — Anecdote — Removal to Oxford, Gra. — Emory 
College^Graduation — College Influence upon his Character and Views. 

" old Lamar Homestead," in Putnam County, Ga., on the 17th of 
September, 1825. Much of his childhood was spent there. To his latest 
days he retained a longing for the old place, and delighted to indulge 
in reminiscences of it and of the old life when he was a child. The 
scenes were apparently as clearly and durably cut upon his memory as 
if they had been cameos. There was a large, old-fashioned, two-story 
house or mansion, with a wide gallery along its entire front. The 
whitewashed walls of the airy rooms were hung with pictures, of which 
one, symbolizing a nightmare, had been painted by " Uncle Mirabeau " 
— a beautiful woman asleep upon a sofa with her hair aflow, and a great 
shadowy horse's head thrust through the window above her. An im- 
mense front yard was filled with grand oaks and Lombardy poplars. 
To the east and front lay rolling lands, and a widespread plain in the 
rear shelved gradually down to a beautiful river which gave to the owner 
of the farm the sobriquet of " Little River. John." There was an orchard 
filled with fruit trees, resonant with the hum of bees busy about the 
labors of their hives, and thrilling with the insistent songs of birds. In 
wide fields the odor of the freshly turned earth hung heavily, and the 
cracking of the growing maize was heard after the summer showers, 
under the hot suns of noon. The house was a relay; and down the far- 
reaching red lane which stretched away like a long orange ribbon, the 
stage coaches would daily drive with rattle and halloo and call of bugle 
from afar, emptying their bustling bevies of hungry but genial travelers 
for the midday meal. In the evenings, as the darkness gathered, from 
the oaks and the forest about came the long-drawn, drowsy droning of 
the locusts, punctuated with the quick but melancholy cry of the 
chuck-Will' s-widow, while waving branches gave half-admittance to the 
moonlight, and made eerie shadows about the house. Then there were 
the black "mammy" — the indispensable factotum of the Southern 
nursery — and the fascinated terrors of those restless nights when she 
would try to frighten Lucius to sleep with threats of the devil, who 
would come out of the black hole under the garret stair and catch him 
if he wasn't good. There was one adventurous hour when, with the 
courage which comes of desperation, he explored that recess and found 
that there was no hole. How he triumphed over the old nurse in his vain 
childish imagination! and what was his disappointment and dismay 



when, with the facility of her kind, she replied to his exultation that the 
devils concealed the hole from boys except as suited themselves. All of 
these things, and many more of similar character, Mr. Lamar loved to 
lecall, and to recount to sympathizing friends. 

However, dearly as he loved this grandfather's home, his own resi- 
dence was, of course, with his father in Milledgeville. Judge Lamar, it 
seems, had also, at one time, a residence in Scottsboro, a village some 
four or five miles from Milledgeville; and it was there, so far as appears 
from the papers still extant, that Lucius got his first schooling. He 
also attended a school at Midway, in that vicinity, of which Beman and 
Mead were the Principals. Then came the sad event of his father's 
death, shortly after which Mrs. Lamar moved to the town of Covington 
for the purpose of educating her boys. To this object, like the wise and 
true mother that she was, she devoted much of her personal attention, 
carefully directing his course of reading. Speaking of this period many 
years afterwards, he said: 

Books? I was surrounded with books. My father's librarj' was unusually large and 
varied for those times. The first book I remember having had put into my hands by 
my mother, after juvenile books, was Franklin's Autobiography. The next was 
RoUin's History. Then came Plutarch's Lives, which I keenly enjoyed. Then 
Mrs. Hemans' innocent poems were intrusted to me, and Young's Night Thoughts. 
As an antidote, or at least a foil, for these, came Byron, which I devoured with eagerness. 
It was not till later years that I discovered that I had read an expurgated edition — 
'Don Juan' had been careftilly cut out. After this was Robinson's America, Mar- 
shall's Life of Washington, Locke on the Understanding, Stuart's Mental Phi- 
losophy, Brown's Lectures on the Intellect, and, after a while, Cousin's Psy- 

Near Covington was located the old (aeorgia-Conference Manual-La- 
bor School. At that early period there was quite an enthusiasm, espe- 
cially amongst educators, over the importance of developing the physical 
powers simultaneously with those of the mind. Robustness of frame 
was regarded as greatly favorable to robustness of intellect. Hence, 
amongst other results, was the establishment of this school, where farm 
labor, supplemented by mental drill, would, it was thought, best prepare 
the boys for their life's work. Dr. Alexander Means was the Principal. 
Under him were Profs. Round, Lane, Myers, and several assistants. 
The campus was surrounded by numerous dormitories for the boys, res- 
idences for the professors, and schoolrooms. Adjoining was the school 
farm. The labor was by no means arduous, and the boys, of all ages, de- 
voted quite as much time to those games in which they delight as would 
have been done even had they not wielded a hoe or guided a plow for 
two or three hours daily. About two hundred and fifty students were in 
attendance, and various sections relieved each other at intervals through- 
out the day. The boys were paid for their work a few cents per hour. 


the amounts being graduated, not according to the amount of labor done, 
but according to the size of the laborer. The small fry therefore had but 
a poor showing when pay day came, which was at the close of the ses- 
sion. To this school Lucius was sent for three years, during the period 
from 1835 to 1838. It was a wise step. He needed something of the 
tind. Reared, so far, in a town, he was diminutive, pale, and troubled 
with dyspepsia. The hours of labor tried him greatly. He was unac- 
customed to handling farm implements, and was not partial to the exer- 
cise. He had none of the fondness for it which was entertained by 
many of the boys from the rural districts. But irksome althoxigh this 
duty was, his old schoolmates testify that he went to it with a quiet res- 
olution, never needing to be pushed up by the Superintendent and nev- 
er doing'it slovenly. In after years he himself said of this period that 

" I was a delicate boy, never so athletic as my two brothers, and being put to work 
strengthened and toned up my whole system. We all had to work three hours every 
day at the ordinary work of a plantation — plowing, hoeing, cutting wood, picking cotton 
and sowing it, pulling fodder, and every item of a planter's occupation. When we 
left that school we could do not only this ordinary drudgery in the best way, but the 
most expert could shoe a horse, make an ax helve, stock a plow, or do any plain bit 
of blacksmithing and carpentry. It was a great training for us all, for we became 
perfectly versed in the details of the work of a farm. Many of Georgia's most distin- 
guished men were reared there." — His mental tendencies were toward history, polit- 
ical economy, sociology, and biology. He said: "Poetry, too, took a strong hold of 
me. When I was in college I read through the plays of Shakespeare and the dramatic 
poetry of that remarkable woman, Joanna Baillie, recommended to me by my mother." 

He was not regarded by either pupils or teachers as possessed of re- 
markable intellectual powers, or as a promising boy in any respect. 
Very frail in appearance, small for his age, and with a sallow complex- 
ion, he was quite reticent, slow in movement, giving the impression of 
constitutional weakness, of sluggishness and indolence, rather than of 
the nascent physical and intellectual strength which was in him. He 
was considered a good, commonplace boy, who, if he came to manhood 
at all, would run a common career and disappear in the common way. 
When in the full maturity of his powers he spoke of his own mind even 
then as dull and slow in its operation. 

He seemed to have but little love for books. His recitations were 
seldom perfect; but yet he was scrupulously faithful to his class duties, 
never missing a call of the roll. For this reason his deficiencies in les- 
sons were put down to the account of dullness, and not to any want of 
inclination to respond to the demands of his masters. 

He was never wild and thoughtless like most boys, but was remarka- 
ble for his quiet and manly manners. The oldest of his mother's boys, 
even as a child he seemed her stay and companion. He was one of the 
purest of boys. His conduct and conversation were always chaste. 
One of his old classmates decribes his morality as " that of a Samuel or 


a Timothy." He mingled but little with the other lads, and hardly ever 
took part in their sports. He loved retirement, and seldom engaged in 
conversation; and this predisposition was regarded as an idiosyncrasy 
of a nature inclined to solitary musing. Even when, with his young 
comrades, he roamed through the woods and fields, hunting for sqir- 
rels and rabbits, it was noticed that he " often seemed abstracted, as if 
he were communing with the invisible, and hunted for thoughts and 
ideas" rather than for small game. 

The other boys thought him at times morose, and made but little 
efibrt to get near him ; but this moroseness was only in appearance. 
He was given to deep and earnest thought from his earliest days. When 
any subject engaged his attention he had the faculty of withdrawing 
his mind from evei^thing else. At such times he would hardly notice 
his most intimate friend; but rouse him from his contemplations, and 
no one was more genial or lovable than he. His heart was as tender as 
that of a girl, and his attachments were like thos6 of Jonathan. The proof 
of this fact is that those affections endured throughout his life; and 
amongst his vast correspondence are to be found to this day the fresh- 
est and most loving letters, written, over a period of three-score years, 
to and from the friends of his youth. He loved to have the good will 
and confidence of his comrades; and while he used no blandishments to 
secure them, yet no one enjoyed them more than he when secured. Said 
one of those old friends, writing from Milledgeville, in 1885: "It is a 
glad advantage I have of yon to look across the creek and over the hills 
to Midway, where dear ' old Beman ' used to direct the studies of our 
early school days; and to write from the old Forte homestead, about a 
hundred yards from where you once lived, to my old classmate, whose 
boyhood, principles, and impulses have changed not in character, but 
'from glory to glory,' till his name adds fame to the country." 

Even at this time Lucius possessed to a remarkable degree the powers 
of abstraction and of concentration of mind upon any subject which 
interested him. The boys at the school were required to write compo- 
sitions and were, for the most part, left to themselves in the large dor- 
mitory appropriated to the small boys to do as they pleased and to write 
what they could on any subject. To write original essays without hav- 
ing received any instruction whatever on that branch of education, and 
in the midst of a babel of voices free to be used as loudly and as long 
as their owners pleased, was no easy task; and the productions of those 
callow brains were curious in the extreme. But Lucius would seat 
himself to his task, seemingly unconscious of the conversations, the 
laughter, and the general confusion, and write with intelligence and 
correctness, if not with elegance. 

The lads were also required to declaim, every week or two, such se- 
lections of prose or poetry as they might fancy; and, while the hours of 


the small boys for speaking in the chapel were times for amusement 
and hilarity to the larger youths, Lucius was never their sport. 
Although extremely modest and diffident, never seeking applause, and 
apparently never caring for anything approaching notoriety, his little 
efforts on those occasions were marked by a dignity and a self-pos- 
session which won admiration. He seemed always to comprehend 
fully the meaning of the author, and made every syllable he spoke his 
own; so that emphasis, intonation, and gesture were admirably fitted to 
the subject. Doubtless he received assistance from his accomplished 
another. So, also, in the debating society he would often astonish and 
overwhelm his little rivals with argument masterly for a child. He 
never spoke unless he understood his subject thoroughly. He not only 
thought out his line of argument, but evidently also the very language 
in which it was expressed, and those expressions were unusually succinct 
and forcible. Nor did those little victories ever seem to render him 
vain or dispose him to underestimate the abilities of his mates. 

He was remarkably fond of listening to sermons, orations, and dis- 
cussions, and even as a child seemed to have the ability to sift out the 
good from the bad, and to engrave the former upon his memory, as if 
with a burin upon steel — a capacity which became remarkably developed 
with him in after life. An illustration of this gift will be found in the 
following amusing anecdote, which he related at a dinner table to a cir- 
cle of friends in 1891, while the Methodist Ecumenical Conference was 
in session in Washington City: 

While living in Covington his mother took him to hear a discussion 
between a professed Universalist (who was in reality an infidel) and an 
old Methodist local preacher. A great crowd had assembled. He and 
his mother secured favorable seats, and he listened with eager in- 
terest. Child as he was, he took in and retained the whole scope of the 
argument, and he rehearsed it to his friends after the lapse of about fifty- 
five years. While pretending to believe the Bible, the infidel yet 
ridiculed the doctrine of the immortality of the soul; and in the course 
of his argument quoted from the Scriptures quite a number of passages 
to prove his position. In concluding he said that the soul was nothing 
but a breath of air, a something that lingered in connection with the 
body for a time, and at death was exhaled like the breath, which was the 
last of it. He was a fine speaker, and clothed his thoughts in beautiful 
language. Just in front of him sat a lady who held a vinaigrette, which 
she occasionally applied to her nostrils. The speaker pointed to her 
and said: "See that smelling bottle in the hand of this lady: now the 
soul is nothing more than that! " 

The old preacher's time came for reply. He answered argument after 
argument in a masterly manner. Finally he alluded to this figure of 
the vinaigrette. He said: "Our friend has asserted that the soul is 


nothing more than a smelling bottle. He has quoted Scripture in proof 
of his position. Let us see how his theory will work. In the Scriptures 
it is said: 'And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, 
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a 
living smelling bottle.' — How beautiful is the thought contained in 
Jacob's remark to his father: 'Arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my ven- 
ison, that thy smelling bottle may bless me! '" By this time the crowd 
were thoroughly aroused to the situation, and the infidel began to show 
signs of wincing. The preacher continued: " AVhat complacency must 
Jacob have felt in his possessions! for it is said: 'All the smelling bot- 
tles of his sons and his daughters were thirty and three.' And again: 
'All the smelling bottles that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out 
of his loins, besides Jacob's sons' wives, all the smelling bottles were three- 
score and six.' " — By this time the crowd had lost all control of them- 
selves, and were roaring with laughter. But the old preacher went on 
with his quotations: " 'Bless the Lord, O my smelling bottle! and all that 
is within me, bless his holy name! ' " At this his antagonist, completely 
routed, rose to leave, but the preacher said: "Just one word more: 
' Why art thou cast down, O my smelling bottle ? and why art thou dis- 
quieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who 
is the health of my countenance, and my God.' " And thereupon the 
infidel fled from the field. . 

Mrs. Lamar's selection of Covington as a residence had been brought 
about by the recommendation of Mr. Harmong Lamar, a half uncle of- 
her late husband. This gentleman was a very wealthy planter from 
Alabama, who had moved to Covington for the purpose of educating his 
sons. He was a devoted Christian, and was widely known for his kind- 
ness and generosity to the poor. After some years he returned to Ala- 
bama, but meanwhile his hand had something to do with directing the 
life of the young nephew. 

About the year 1838 the labor school was converted into Emory Col- 
lege, at Oxford, some two or three miles from Covington. Mrs. Lamar 
and Mr. Harmong Lamar disposed of their respective properties in the 
latter place and erected handsome residences in the former. Mrs. La- 
mar's premises were large and attractive. There was a two-story frame 
house, with all the conveniences and adjuncts then used and a beau- 
tiful flower garden at the front. Here she remained for a number of 
years, educating her boys at the college, and taking a few student 
boarders to help defray her expenses. Many of the letters found among 
the correspondence of the Justice refer in tender and grateful terms to 
her kindness to, and her ennobling influence over, the writers while they 
were youths at school. 

Here it was mainly that Lucius received the early bent which impart- 


ed a devotional strain to all his after life. The mother was a typical 
Georgia lady, in the possession of those qualities of shrewd, practical, 
and strong common sense for which the people of that State, as' a class, 
are noted. Her generous hospitality, her agreeable personality, and her 
enthusiastic Methodism, made her home the rendezvous for the Meth- 
odist clergy of that time, and " Sister Lamar " was known far abroad. 
Thus Lucius' early life was subjected, in the most agreeable and fruit- 
ful way, to the eloquence, the fervid piety, and all of the fascinating in- 
fluences of the able clergy of that period. He loved to listen to the 
words of wisdom that fell from the lips of such men as Sam Anthony, 
James Evans, Lovick Pierce, and many others of the great preachers 
whose names are now historic in the Church; and the memory of their 
kindling and powerful utterances formed a treasury of reminiscence and 
delight from which he drew largely until the day of his death. 

In August of the year 1841 Lucius Lamar entered the freshman class 
of Emory College at Oxford, Ga. He graduated in July, 1845. This 
institution had been chartered in 1837, and in 1841 its first class grad- 
uated. The social, religious, and educational advantages were excep- 
tionally fine. Under the auspices of the Methodist Church, its Presi- 
dent was then the Rev. A. B. Longstreet, eminent as a lawyer, judge, 
polemic, educator, and divine. 

During the first year of his college course Lucius manifested no spe- 
cial ability in his classes. Nor did he ever do so; but after his advance- 
ment to the sophomore class there was a marked improvement in stu- 
diousness and scholarship. His grade was highest in the classics and 
lowest in mathematics. This, however, was the result, not of any inca- 
pacity to deal with mathematics, but of a distaste for it which led to a 
comparative neglect. Here again his ability as a speaker was manifest- 
ed. He was a member of the Phi Gamma Society, and its records show 
that he was the leader in its debates. On every occasion throughout 
his college course he was awarded a speaker's place. 

In later days, in a Commencement address delivered at Emory Col- 
lege in July, 1870, he said this of his college life: that it was "bright 
and happy;" and then: 

No spot on earth has so helped to form and make me what I am as this town of Ox- 
ford. It was here, in the church which stands a little farther up the street, that I be- 
came fully impressed with the value and peril of my soul, and was led to pour out my 
contrite confessions. It was in yonder building, which now seems so deserted, that 
I became conscious of power. It was here, in the Phi Gamma Society, that I received 
my training as a debater. I see before me now many who wrestled with me then in 
the arena of debate. There sits a man who was one of the first (he was the second) 
to suggest that I had powers within me to stir men's hearts and to convince their rea- 
son. "Wesley Hughes was the first. I know not where he is, but I send to him my 
greetings wherever he may be. I'here sits the venerable man who, when I delivered 


my graduating speech, in approval of its sentiments, placed his hand upon my head 
and gave me his blessing. There is another old man (Dr. Means) who sat at the very 
fountain head of my mind, and with loving hand directed the channel into which it 
was required to flow, and who, when I arrived at manhood, gave me my betrothed 
bride, who has ever since held the choicest place in my affections and made my life 
one constant song of joy. 

Many of those whom I then knew have disappeared. There was Prof. George W. 
Lane, who unlocked for us the pure springs of GBecian literature, shedding over them 
all the rich light of his holy precepts and example ; long since he went to his reward. 
There was also Lucius Whitie, the eloquent speaker, the ripe scholar, the refined gen- 
tleman, who in a few years followed Lane to the grave. And many younger have 
passed away. Robert Goodloe Harper, to whose soul my own was knit as was David 
to Jonathan, has gone. My two brothers and a host of the Emory students, who fell 
in defense of the noblest earthly cause that ever dawned upon humanity, now fill 
soldiers' graves. 

Many years later, on May 13, 1887, while he was Secretary of the In- 
terior, Mr. Lamar wrote to Eev. Edward Thomson, of Los Angeles, Cal. : 

The obligation I am under to your sainted father (Bishop E. Thomson) through his 
writings is very great, and the sense of it grows in intensity and force the longer I 
live. . . . Much of my practical success in life among men is due to the principles 
I imbibed from the speeches of your father when he was President of a Western col- 
lege which I read during the formative state of my intellect and character. Those 
speeches were published in a magazine entitled the Ladies' Repository, and my atten- 
tion was called to them by my widowed mother, who was at a Methodist college in 
the South educating her sons. 

The fact that Mr. Lamar was educated at Emory College, and was so 
educated at the particular period during which he attended that insti- 
tution, is one most noteworthy. All are aware of the formative effects 
upon an ingenuous and noble youth of his college life. Mr. Lamar's 
life at Emory doubtless contributed largely to produce in him those sen- 
timents and opinions anent the question of slavery and its relation to 
the political frame of the Federal Government which made him shortly 
afterwards a conspicuous and aggressive leader in Southern politics. 

It must be remembered that Mr. Lamar's mother and his uncle were 
Methodists so ardent that the location of the Methodist schools deter- 
mined their places of residence; also that Emory College was the expo- 
nent and the center of Georgia Methodism, while Georgia Methodism 
in turn was nearly or quite the center of that of the South. Again, the 
period was that of 1841 to 1845, which was that of the intensest agita- 
tion of the slavery question within the Church, and of the final rupture, 
on that issue, of that great denomination into its present Northern and 
Southern branches. At the General Conference at Cincinnati in 1836 
there had been agitation by the abolitionist wing within the Church, 
whereby it was sought to so alter the book of Discipline as to bring the 
Church as a whole more into line with tbe movement for abolition, and 
to free it ''from the evil of slavery"; but the Conference refused to 


take any action in that direction, and resolved that it was " decidedly 
opposed to modern abolitionism," and disclaimed any right, wish, or in- 
tention to interfere in the civil and political relation between master 
and slave as it existed in the slaveholding States of the Union. 

Nevertheless the agitation was continued, especially in the New En- 
gland States; and "extraordinary preambles and resolutions," in spite 
of the efforts of the bishops to prevent it, " were thrust upon the An- 
nual and Quarterly Conferences. Some of these resolutions censured 
the acts and attitude of other Annual Conferences, especially in the 
South; unchristianized a large proportion of American Methodists; re- 
flected seriously upon the administration; and pronounced harsh judg- 
ment upon ministers and members in good standing in the Church who 
had not been arraigned." * Repeated charges were brought, by two of 
the bishops and others, against some of the leaders in this excitement, 
of slander, defamation, etc., resulting in Church trials. The agitators 
claimed that no slaveholders should be admitted to membership in the 
Church; while on the other hand, in other quarters, even in the North, 
ministers were disciplined for attending abolition meetings and partici- 
pating in them. The Wesleyan Methodist Church was established in 
1842, and made nonslaveholding a condition of membership. 

When the General Conference of 1844 met in New York a resolution 
was introduced requesting the resignation of Bishop James O. Andrew, 
of Georgia, because of his ownership of slaves, which led to an anima- 
ted debate of several days' duration, culminating in the adoption of a 
resolution that Bishop Andrew desist from the exercise of his office so 
long as that impediment should exist. Thereupon, on June 5th, Dr. 
Longstreet, then the President of Emory College, "offered what is 
known as the 'Declaration of the Southern Delegates,' " to the effect 

The delegates of the Conferences in the slaveholding States take leave to declare to 
the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church that the continued agita- 
tion on the subject of slavery and abolition in a portion of the Church, and the fre- 
quent action on that subject in the General Conference, and especially the extrajudi- 
cial proceedings against Bishop Andrew, which resulted, on Saturday last, in the vir- 
tual suspension of him from his oflBoe as Superintendent, must produce a state of 
things in the South which renders a continuance of the jurisdiction of this General 
Conference over those Conferences inconsistent with the success of the ministry in the 
slaveholding States. 

On this declaration the "Plan of Separation " was adopted three days 

It may be easily imagined with what deep feelings and eager discus- 
sion all these agitations and their final consummation were watched 
from Emory College. The questions touched the Southern people, not 
only as citizens and property holders, but also as Christians. It so hap- 

*" History of Methodism," MoTyeire, pp. 601-637. 


pened that the ultimate struggle came over the qualification as a Chris- 
tian minister of a Georgia bishop, and the declaration for severance 
came from their own honored President. Inevitably such stirring 
events, with which they were brought into such close relation, must 
have produced in the students impressions deep and lasting. It was 
certainly so with Mr. Lamar, and with him those impressions remained 
throughout life firmly fixed. 

Naturally it would happen that convictions thus acquired, and so 
burned in, as to the right of the Southern people to regulate their own 
domestic relations free from interference or dictation from the other 
portions of the Union, although coming through a religious controversy, 
should become metamorphosed into articles of political faith; and to a 
temperament such as Mr. Lamar's it was inevitable that such a political 
belief should, under the circumstances, reach the altitude and firmness 
of a religious dogma. 


Legal Education and Admission to the Bar — Marriage — Judge Longstreet — Mrs. Long- 
street — Mrs. Lamar and Mrs. Branham — " Influence of Women." 

UPON his graduation, in the year 1845, Mr. Lamar began a study of 
the law. This work was prosecuted at Macon, in the office and 
under the direction of the Hon. Absalom H. Chappell, a lawyer of dis- 
tinction who had married his youngest aunt, Loretto. After two years 
he was admitted to the bar at Vienna, in Dooly County, Judge Litt 
Warren presiding. After the admission, Judge Christopher B. Strong, 
long a Georgia judge for two different circuits, rose and openly congrat- 
ulated young Lamar upon his examination, saying, amongst other things, 
that he was a friend and cotemporary of the deceased Judge Lamar. 

Mr. Chappell then took young Lamar into partnership, and a firm of 
Chappell and Lamar was formed to practice at the Macon bar. This 
arrangement, however, lasted but a very short time. Mr. Chappell soon 
moved to Columbus, and Mr. Lamar offered for practice in Covington. 

It is an interesting and noteworthy fact that the aunt whose amiable 
and accomplished husband gave her nephew his first training and start 
in business outlived the Justice, and yet resides in Columbus, Ga. 

On the 15th of July, 1847, Mr. Lamar was married to Miss Virginia 
Lafayette Longstreet, daughter of the Rev. Augustus B. Longstreet, then 
President of Emory College. In his life many fortunate events befell 
him, but this was perhaps the most fortunate of all. We have his own 
testimony going very nearly to that extent. Years afterwards, when he 
was a member of Congress, in a large assemblage of Mississippi's bright- 
est and noblest men and women, he was heard to say to a knot of uni- 
versity students: "Young gentlemen, I hope every one of you will get 
married, and that none of you will have more cause to regret it than I. 
For if I am worthy of the respect and confidence of my fellow-citizens, 
or ever shall be in the future, I want my wife to have full credit for it." 

This Longstreet family, into which Mr. Lamar married, became in 
the fullest sense his own family. With it he lived on the most intimate 
amd affectionate terms so long as they all did live; and their love, en- 
couragement, and assistance pervaded and greatly colored his subse- 
quent history. It is therefore necessary, at some length, to consider 

Judge Longstreet was descended, in the fourth remove, from Dirk 
Stoffels Langestraat, a Dutchman who in 1657 settled upon Long Is- 
land, then a part of the Dutch colony of New Netherlands. His parents, 



William Longstreet and Hannah Eandolph (formerly FitzEandolph), 
were natives of New Jersey; but he was born in Augusta, Ga., on the 
22d of September, 1790. 

Graduating at Yale College in 1813, he immediately entered the cele- 
brated law school of Reeve & Gould, at Litchfield, Conn. In 1815 he 
was admitted to the bar, and in 1817 settled in Greensboro. He was 
successful, and quickly rose to eminence in. his profession. In 1821 he 
was elected, to the, legislative assembly; and on the 8th of November, 
1822, was commissioned judge of the Ocmulgee Circuit, than which 
there was then no higher judicial position in Georgia. He was the 
youngest practitioner, as, later. Judge. Lamar was the youngest man, 
raised to that position in the State. , 

It was at this period of his liie that he began that series of inimitable 
humorous sketches which have been since published to the world as the 
"Georgia Scenes." 

In 1824 he was a candidate for Congress, with every prospect of suc- 
cess; but the death of his only son, to whom he was tenderly attached, 
following, as it did, closely upon the death of a beautiful little daughter, 
and that of his wife's mother, clipped the wings of his worldly ambition 
forever, and turned his thoughts heavenward. He withdrew from the 
congressional race, and he and his wife became earnest seekers and pro- 
fessors of religion. 

About the year 1827 he moved to Augusta, and there continued the 
practice of his profession, with much success. But his mind was bent 
on other things, and in the very flood of success, during the year 1838, 
he became a minister of the gospel in the Methodist Church. 

Judge Longstreet was an ardent politician, and was devoted to the 
cause of, State. rights and the Jeffersonian school of strict construction. 
His articles, over "the signature of "Bob Short,^' in the days of nullifi- 
cation, exerted a powerful influence on the. public mind. During that 
period of excitement he established and edited the Aucjusta 'Sentinel. 

In the latter part of the year 1839 he was elected President of Em- 
ory College. Under his superintendence that institiition greatly pros- 
pered, soon rivaling the State University in. patronage and importance. 
Here he remained until July, 1848, when he resigned; and in February 
or March, 1849, was- installed as President of the Gentejtiary" College 
(also a Methodist ipstitution), at: Jaclcson,La. In September, 1849, 
however, he wag ii^augjirate^- a;s. Presicjept qf ■ tjae University of Missis- 
sippi, located at Oxford, in that State, which position he resigned in 
1856. Late in 1857 he was chosen President of the South Carolina 
College, and continued to occupy that position until the institution was 
deserted by the students in a body for the Confederate army on the 
breaking out of the Civil War. This closed his public career, and he 
lived quietly at home, at Oxford, Miss., except such interruption as was 



caused by the, war, until his death, which occurred on the 9th of July, 

Judge Longstreet's figure was tall and spare, his carriage easy and 
quietly graceful. He had a fair complexion, with brown hair and blue 
eyes; mouth rather large and very flexible, with strong and perfect 
teeth, which never decayed, but were worn down by age. Abounding 
in physical vitality, in his younger days he was fond of athletic sports 
and exercises. With a pleasant and winning address, he was courteous 
and regardful of the feelings and rights of others. He had the power 
to draw friends strongly and to hold them firmly. He was a modest 
man, yet possessed a high sense of personal dignity, was sensitive to 
affront, and prompt to resent it; under all circumstances self-possessed; 
by no means quarrelsome, yet he was combative. His piety was deep 
and ever present. An enthusiastic Methodist, and devoted to all spe- 
cial interests of that denomination, he neither believed in any repression 
of individual opinions or compulsory conformity to arbitrary rules, nor 
entertained any narrow jealousies of other sects of Christians; he was 
thoroughly catholic. As a writer his style was fluent, limpid, precise, 
idiomatic, and fascinating; his letters especially were charming. He 
was a ready and attractive speaker, but was not a pulpit orator, since 
he studiously avoided in his sermons anything which might savor of 
intellectual pride rather than of the humility becoming to a minister 
of the gospel. His friends thought him ovei'scrupulous in this respect. 

He was very energetic and industrious. "When over seventy -five 
years of age, in order that he might write an article on Biblical trans- 
lation, he undertook a study of the Hebrew, and made some advance- 
ment in that difficult tongue. As a lawyer he was acute, learned, sym- 
pathetic, and generous. The best work of his life was done, however, 
as an educator, in which calling he displayed to greatest advantage all 
of his varied qualities and accomplishments, including a true pedagog- 
ical instinct and an unusual capacity for organization and administra- 
tion; while his learning without pedantry and his unquestionable gen- 
ius gave him a strong hold upon the fancy of his pupils. He was 
gifted with both a ready and sparkling wit and a shrewd and rollicking 
humor, both of which were kindly, true, spontaneous, and apparently 
inexhaustible; while also he was an accomplished mimic. The rendi- 
tion of one of his own " Scenes " by himself was a thing not soon to be 
forgotten by any who heard it. ' 

Finally, he was shrewd, systematic, and orderly in business; very 
thrifty, yet always capable of generous expenditures and large chari- 
ties. No man was ever a kinder or more indulgent husband and father, 
or a kindlier counselor to any who were in trouble. 

Such was the man under whose influence Mr. Lamar came so inti- 
mately at the plastic age of twenty-two. While there were many points 


of dissimilarity between the two men, it cannot be doubted that the 
mental and moral qualities of the father-in-law, for whom he had al- 
ways the highest respect and love, contributed largely to the establish- 
•ment of his own character. In 1859 Mr. Lamar wrote to him thus: " I 
am indebted to you for ennobling induences from my boyhood up to 
middle age. I have doubtless often pained you, but for many years I 
have loved you as few sons love a father. And many a time in mo- 
ments of temptation your influence, the desire of your love and appro- 
bation, have served me when my virtue might have failed. No applause 
of the public delights me so much as your declaration that I am un- 
speakably dear to you." 

Mrs. Frances Eliza Longstreet, daughter of Emsley Parke and Mary 
Hawkins, was born in Eandolph County, N. C, on the 5th of March, 
1799. By the will of her grandfather, followed by the death of her 
only brother, she became possessed of an estate quite considerable, 
considering the times and the locality. She was educated at Warren- 
ton, Ga., and was married to Mr. Longstreet on the 2d of March, 1817. 
This couple lived together in mutual esteem and tenderest love for 
fifty-one years. 

She was of a delicate constitution, and suffered much; but the crown- 
ing sorrow of her weakness was the frailty of her children, of whom 
she lost all in their infancy except two daughters. She herself died 
on the 13th of November, 1868. 

Mrs. Longstreet was a typical Southern lady. Her life and her home 
were illustrated by every charm, and they were powers in the commu- 
nities in which she lived. The following exquisite pictures — the one 
by Dr. Wightman, of Washington City, the other by Justice Lamar 
himself — contributed to the "Life of Judge Longstreet" by Bishop 
Fitzgerald — are reproduced here because of their tender and truthful 
portrayal of this lovely woman. 

Dr. Wightman says: 

Between President Longstreet and his lovely wife there was a striking contrast. 
He was tall, bent, scarred — an oak among men; she was small, graceful, with a sweet 
face — a flower. She had intwined herself into all his labors, and it would be a ques- 
tion which influenced the college boys more, the President or his charming lady. 
Her power was not seen, but felt. Her husband could not have attained the same 
greatness had he not possessed a better Eve, capable of guiding his house and of in- 
fluencing his profound thoughts. He was keenly alive to passing influences, and his 
nature was susceptible of vivid impressions. On that nature she impressed the con- 
victions of her own mind. His large and dependent heart gladly responded to the 
thoughts so pure and lovely, and made him share with her the responsibilities of his 
high position. She nobly accepted the loving charge and linked herself in sympathy 
to her husband's loftiest aspirations for a higher life and breathed into them the in- 
spiration that comes only from a pious heart. 

There was a cliarm about the house. The table smiled. The quiet atmosphere 


■was redolent of love. The lady was a queen in manners. Nothing was commanded, 
yet every one owned the supremacy of a subtle power. The servants caught the 
spirit. Even the President was glad to acknowledge himself the loyal subje(?t of an 
accomplished wife, who dutifully studied every responsibility of his life. 

There flowed in her conversation a rhythm of delight. She was familiar with the 
English classics; Milton, Shakespeare, Longfellow, and Keats were her companions. 
She put them in her memory, and the sublime passages of these masters of poetry 
rolled from her bewitching tongue in colloquial eloquence. She played on a better 
than a Syrian harp. The President drank from these wells of pure English, and sweet- 
ened the tone of his literature from the poetic lips of his wife. 

It was a Christian home — no wine nor noisy show, no hollow flattery nor nodding 
plumes hiding the worm that was gnawing at the heart, no gilded vanity and smooth 
and facile courtesy and sarcastic epigram; but a home of real joy and substantial love, 
lit up with hope, where a Christian wife inspired her husband with the noblest sen- 
timents of conjugal fidelity. 

Somehow there crept out from that little woman a commanding, motherly power 
that held three hundred young men loyal to the college. The President sat at her 
feet; and the boys, at his. This home was a shelter from the storm, and far above the 
darkness he saw one star that shed a soft and heavenly light on his troubled spirit. 
Nor was this a house of idleness. Those delicious biscuits and smoking rolls and the 
aromatic coffee told the story of a dutiful housewife. The table was hospitable, and 
from that board went food into the mouths of the poor, and at the footway of that 
mansion stood one whose hands had become the unweary instruments of dispensing 
to the needy. 

Her charity was large, her faith was simple. She was a Methodist woman. Her 
Bible was marked with devotion; and could the walls of her chamber repeat the bur- 
den of her prayers, they would become witnesses of her fidelity to God. Here was 
the secret of her power. She lived with God; she loved him; all was his. 

Justice Lamar said: 

Mrs. Longstreet was the mother of my wife; and she was in love, tenderness, and 
goodness my mother. It is, therefore, hardly possible for me either to think or speak 
of her as if in the perspective. She was a true type of a true Southern woman; and 
when I say that I mean that she embodied that indescribable charm, that spirit of love, 
that subtle effiuence of refinement, that piety and culture of character, which rarely 
failed to be wrought into the nature of a woman reared under a Southern roof, with 
its sacred environments and clustering joys. 

To an eye not accustomed to analyze the indications of female character she might 
appear too reserved, and even retiring, to possess those qualities that make up a her- 
oine in the conflicts of life. But her modesty, which, like a sensitive plant, shrank 
from rude familiarities, was sustained by a courage that never shrank from hardship, 
trial, and self-denial. The war did not subdue her spirit. She came from its desola- 
tions undismayed by the poverty which it entailed upon herself and the dear ones of 
her own family. She visited the homes of the poor and turned her own into a hos- 
pital, and did not hesitate to bathe her gentle hand in blood that she might bind the 
wounds of the dying. ' 

The gentleness of her manners, the grace of her motion, the reserve of her dignity, 
only served the better to set ofi' the brightness that shone in her conversation and to 
disclose an intelligence that threw a charm over the modesty of her nature. Full of 
warmth and tenderness and depth of feeling, confiding, trustworthy, a lover of home, 
a true wife and mother, her hand touched and beautified and sanctified all domestic 

She was nurtured amid an elegant hospitality and made familiar with all the dn- 


ties and delicate relations of social life, which strengthened her character and uncon- 
sciously prepared her to glide into the higher powers of mistress over a numerous 
body of domestics and dependents, and to govern a Southern patriarchal home. The 
profound and long-abiding attachment between the mistress and her old servants, in- 
cluding the descendants of the old negro nurse who rocked her in the cradle and the 
dusky maids with whom she played " house " in childhood, was not shaken by the 
war; but it lingers even to this day, and illustrates the substantial and lasting influ- 
ences of the old home life. 

Both Mrs. Lamar and her elder sister, Mrs. Dr. Branham, were such 
ladies as such a home and such parents would be expected to produce. 
They were much alike in general appearance, rather above medium 
height, with slender, though not thin, figures; quite small heads, very 
small and delicately cut and pleasing features (Mrs. Branham's being 
more like those of their father in outline), with remarkably fair com- 
plexions, black hair, and blue-gray eyes. In them were gathered all of 
those attractive qualities, both of mind and soul, which Justice Lamar 
so tenderly portrays as possessed by their mother. Both had been 
finely educated and accomplished. Notable housewives, they had all 
of the arts which go to make home delightful and to crown the lives of 
their families with a perfect happiness. Each had inherited a large 
measure of the special graces and powers of their parents, yet with a 
difference. Mrs. Branham had her father's wit, bright, sparkling, and 
pungent, but tempered by the kindliest feeling; while Mrs. Lamar had 
her father's abounding and perennial humor, with his rare powers of 
mimicry, to which she occasionally gave rein in the retirement of her 
own home, to the great amusement of her friends. 

Both had the cheerful disposition of their father. Mrs. Lamar, even 
while engaged in her household duties, effervesced and exhilarated like 
champagne. Her lively chatting from room to room with the various 
members of the family or with the servants, her audible little solilo- 
quies, the mild hectoring in which the diligent but gentle and vivacious 
housewife indulged, were inspiriting and often most amusing; and the 
whole was shot with snatches of song, now gay and again devout. Mrs. 
Branham's cheerfulness, on the other hand, was of a more tranquil 
character, being modified by somewhat of the gentle pensiveness of 
their mother; and she was much more given to serious and introspective 
musing than was her sister. Both had the courage and endurance of 
their parents. In all of his checkered life, when her husband was often 
in serious peril, either in person or in political fortunes, Mrs. Lamar 
was never harassed by anxieties about possible ills. She rested secure 
in the confidence that "Lucius,'' as she called her husband, would come 
through unscathed and triumphant. Nor was this a want of sensibility, 
for she possessed that quality in a high degree, and to all the varying 
fortunes of the family she immediately adjusted herself with a ready 


and a. cheerful acquiescence. Her heart was simply an unfailing spring 
of bright waters, and her brave eyes refused to fall before the glare of 
troubles, but gave dull care on all occasions and everywhere the cut di- 
rect. Mrs. Branham had a soberer and more apprehensive temper. 
The trials which her sieter ignored she anticipated, recognized, brooded 
over, and either endured or conquered. 

The sisters were inseparable companions; in fact, were never during 
their lives separated, except for brief periods. They and their parents, 
their husbands and children, aiforded a beautiful example of family 
unity and harmony. They all lived together much as one family, fre- 
quently in the same residence for long periods, and their children grew 
up calling each other "brother" and "sister." 

So it was that Mr. Lamar during nearly the whole of his life, and 
during all of the critical part of it, had the singular good fortune that 
he could draw without stint upon two so royally gifted, womanly, and 
Christian souls. Their influence thrilled through his life like a strain 
of exquisite song in which each singer carries a different part, yet there 
is perfect accord and perfect unison, with a constant recurrence to one 
elevating and inspiriting motif. 

So complex and wayward are the influences which control the mcods 
of men that into the life of every man of genius and deep feeling, no 
matter how strong he may be or how fortunate and successful, come 
hours like anchorets, arrayed in somber garb and set from others 
apart; hours in which a troubled heart and a faltering spirit cry out 
for the healing and strengthening touch of another's sympathy and 
love. At such periods — indeed, at all periods, but especially then — 
there is no blessing so great as a wife such as was Mrs. Lamar. And 
how greatly is that blessing increased when the wife, so rarely endowed, 
carries also into her husband's life the added boon of a sister, her equal 
and perfect complement in social, mental, and spiritual graces, and dif- 
fering in love only as the devotion of a sister differs from that of a 
wife! Frequently and freely did Mr. Lamar profit by that sisterly af- 
fection. He was infinitely tender toward his wife and thoughtful of 
her happiness. Her bright spirit was a sustaining power to his own 
soul, and he had the wisdom to know its value. Often when somber 
moods would come upon him, with a perfect assurance of his wife's 
ability and anxious readiness to leave the sunny skies of her own spir- 
itual flight and share the darkness of his groping, he still would shrink, 
because of his own loving unwillingness, from placing that burden upon 
her; or, again, in different humor, he would find solace and relief not only 
in her quick sympathies and loving faith, but also in a wider commun- 
ion. In any event and whatever his state of feeling, besides the tender 
wife, there was nearly always the resource of a solemn and encouraging 
talk with " Sister Fannie," from which he would often come forth both 


with renewed strength for life's hard combats, with renewed zest for 
brighter walks, and without any remorseful thought that he had laid 
upon either ministering spirit the weight of a melancholy beyond its 
strength to bear. 

This sounds like a sketch of romance, but it is the simple statement 
of a truth, a feeble description of the personal relations for nearly forty 
years of three loving, noble, and loyal souls. Mr. Lamar himself recog- 
nized these influences without doubt. In a pocket note-book kept by 
him while Secretary of the Interior, which contains a queer jumble of 
sentimental, legal, political, social, and business notes, is to be found 
this passage, which no one who knew him well can read without a con- 
fident assurance that he penned it with his thoughts fixed upon the 
women who had been the good genii to him: 

It is to the influence of woman that all man's greatness or his viciousness may be 
traced. No man (or history is false), no man has ever won the world's applause for 
noble deeds, for self-sacrificing efforts, around whose infant brow a mother's hands 
have not placed the chaplet of virtue and honor, or upon whose heart her love or the 
afiections of a sister or the attachment of a wife have not impressed the indelible lin- 
eaments of true greatness. The influence of woman — it can hush the harth and dis- 
cordant notes of passion; in the cause of affection or duty it has a charm that can 
arrest the murderer's hand and stay the tide of vengeance. And that influence is 
working in our midst. There is not a heart that has not been molded or that will 
not be directed by the same potent spell. As irresistibly as the beautiful moon sways 
the ocean tides, bidding them to ebb and flow, so does the light of woman's smile 
compel the currents of man's heart to flow on until they cover the barren rocks of 
selfishness, the desert spots of crime, making the glad soil rejoice and blossom. And 
so also can the cloud of woman's frown drive back the genial tide until that heart 
will be once more as sterile as the rocks of Petra or as Sahara's arid sands. 

It is no shame to us men that we are the subjects of so gentle a scepter. As well 
might the cold earth complain that the genial influences of the springtime or the 
blessings of the rain or the dew compel it to bring forth the blooming flower or the 
fruitful vine; for neither spring nor rain nor dew ever brought a greater blessing 
upon earth than the sweet influence which man's fair companion has bestowed upon 
his sterner mold. 

Nor was this recognition of women as a potent factor in the shaping 
of men and their lives a mere theory or sentiment with him. It is re- 
membered that while he was Confederate Commissioner to Russia, a cele- 
brated French lady, prominent at the court of the Emperor Napoleon, 
remarked of him that he was apparently the only diplomatist at that 
court who fully recognized, and endeavored to utilize, the power of the 
women there. 


Eemoval to Oxford, Miss.— Admitted to the Mississippi Bar— Elected to an Adjunct 
Professorship in the University of Mississippi— Dete as a Political Spealser— The 
Compromise Measures of 1850— Debate with Foote over the Compromise. 

WHEN Judge Longstreet went to Mississippi, in September, 1849, 
to take charge of the State University, he addressed to Mr. La- 
mar, then living in Covington, Ga., a letter which induced him also 
to remove to Oxford, Miss., for the purpose of practicing law. That 
village was the county site of a large and prosperous county in the 
northern part of the State, in a region, embracing about two-fifths of 
the State's entire area, which had been ceded by the Indians to the 
whites only about fifteen to eighteen years before; and it, therefore, was 
a new country. There was a great and rapid immigration. Mr. La- 
mar's trip was made overland in a rockaway and two wagons, carrying 
his wife, infant daughter, and servants. The travelers reached Oxford 
about the middle of November, the Branhams following in the next year. 
Under date of May 14, 1850, Mr. Lamar wrote as follows to Mr. Chap- 

Dear Sir : I received a few weeks since your letter accompanying the commission 
■ from the Governor of Georgia, wiiich you were iiind enough to obtain for me. 1 post- 
poned my reply until I could get qualified. Inclosed you have the certificate of the 
judge, which you will oblige me by sending to the Governor. I thank you, my dear 
sir, for the sentiments of friendship and regard which you express for me; my heart 
responds to it all. The knowledge that I possess your esteem will always incite me 
to deserve it; and should I live to realize your flattering hopes of me, my chief pleas- 
ure will be in the belief that it gratifies such friends as you and my aunt, at the bare 
mention of whose name my heart beats with a, sacred impulse. And I hope I shall 
be pardoned for repeating here what upon every fit occasion I delight to say to your- 
selves and others, that after my own immediate family there is no being on earth for 
whom I entertain an afiection so devoted and abiding as that which I cherish for my 
Aunt Loretto. The year I lived with you was fraught with benefits to my character 
of incalculable value, and from you in particular I have received impressions which 
I shall carry with me to my grave. I can never reciprocate these kindnesses, but 
should the time unfortunately ever come when your children may need a friend (and 
what may not happen in this whirligig world?), they will have one in me, firm and 

This is a magnificent country for planters. There are men here who left Newton 
County poor and in debt eight and ten years ago, who now have a good plantation and 
fifteen to twenty hands, and are buying more every year. 

There will be, a month or two hence, an election of two additional tutors for this 
university; and as the duties of one of them will not be so onerous as to draw my 
attention from my profession, I shall apply for it. My motive for this step is to pro- 
vide myself with ready money until I get a practice, but more particularly to extri- 
cate my mother from some pecuniary embarrassments in which she has become in- 



volved, rather by untoward circumstances than by her own mismanagement. ... It 
is my duty, and it will be my pleasure, to avail myself of this opportunity to relieve 
a mother whose whole widowhood has been a history of self-sacrifices for her chil- 

On the 1st of June, 1850, Mr. Lamar was licensed, on examination, by 
the Hon. Hugh E. Miller, to practice "as an attorney and counselor at 
law and solicitor in chancery in all the courts of law and equity" in 
the State. In July of the same year he was elected adjunct professor 
of mathematics in the university, the principal professorship being 
held by Dr. Albert T. Bledsoe, later distinguished as an author and as 
the editor of the Southern Bevieic. Mr. Lamar at once endeavored to 
qualify himself to manage his department most advantageously, and, 
amongst other preparations, corresponded with the teacher of mathe- 
matics at Emory College in respect to his methods and experiences. 

In the latter part of this year, also, he began to make political 
speeches, and they were favorably received. Indeed, they seem to have 
made him a local reputation somewhat unusual for a neophyte. It was 
in the autumn of 1851, however, that he was first pitted against a formi- 
dable foe, and won his spurs. In order that this incident may be under- 
stood, it will be necessary to make a brief historical digression. 

In the year 1851 there was intense excitement and profound agitation 
in the slaveholding States of this Union. Nowhere was that excite- 
ment more intense or the agitation more profound than in Mississippi. 
The direct cause of it was certain legislation which had been indulged 
in by the preceding Congress, which bore upon the question of slavery, 
but especially the admission of the State of California with an anti- 
slavery constitution and, it was claimed, in a grossly irregular manner. 

From the formation of the Federal Union there existed between the 
North and the South a jealousy of political power, which was pregnant 
with immense issues and dire results. That jealousy was the life of the 
subsequent great struggle over slavery as a domestic institution. Ex- 
cept as a political force, it is more than doubtful whether that particular 
struggle would ever have been. The possession of slaves was not only 
a unifying agency for the South, but it was also understood to be a source 
of political power to each State, inasmuch as under the constitution the 
representation of each State in Congress was fixed at the sum of its white 
citizens and of three-fifths of all its slaves; and that provision was gen- 
erally, although erroneously, understood to have been adopted as a repre- 
sentation of property. In the North, therefore, the political and the 
moral questions conspired to produce an intense opposition to any in- 
crease of the slave States; while in the South the political question, and 
the anxiety to secure a vested property interest, conspired to produce a 
desire equally intense to make such an increase. 

The first great contest over this issue was on the admission of Mis- 


souri. In that region were already many slaves, and in 1819 the terri- 
tory applied for admission under a constitution which recognized slav- 
ery. The application failed by a disagreement between the two houses 
of Congress; the House refusing assent unless a clause abolishing slav- 
ery should be inserted in the constitution, while the Senate held that 
such a requirement would be violative of the Constitution of the United 
States. In 1820 the application of Missouri was renewed. After a pro- 
tracted and bitter controversy a compromise, known to history as the 
"Missouri Compromise," was agreed on, the substance of which was that 
the State should be admitted with a proslavery constitution, but with a 
prohibition in the act of admission against slavery in all of the territo- 
ry north and west of Missouri, down to the parallel of thirty-six degrees 
and thirty minutes. 

Then came, in time, the annexation of Texas, the Mexican War, and 
the acquisition from Mexico of vast territories reaching to the Pacific 
Ocean. This straightway opened a new question. The antislavery 
party began to declare that, notwithstanding the Missouri Compromise, 
slavery should not be introduced into any newly acquired territory — 
not even below the line of thirty-six thirty — that the compromise was 
limited to such territory as was embraced in the old province of Louis- 
iana. In August, 1846, when the President requested an appropriation 
to enable him to negotiate a treaty of peace with Mexico, based on a ces- 
sion of territory, a Democratic member from Pennsylvania offered a 
proviso to the appropriation bill, called after him the "Wilmot Provi- 
so," to the effect that as an express and indispensable condition to the 
acquisition, slavery should never be allowed therein. This proviso was 
passed by the House, but was rejected by the Senate. The territory 
subsequently ceded by Mexico was acquired free from its operation. 
But its introduction, its advocacy, and its almost success, were regarded 
by the State rights party as a practical repudiation of the Missouri 
Compromise, and accordingly were deeply resented and bitterly de- 

In February, 1847, Mr. Calhoun presented in the Senate a set of res- 
olutions to the effect that, inasmuch as the territories were the common 
property of all the States, Congress had no constitutional power what- 
ever to exclude from them slaves, the legal property of so many of the 
citizens of the States of the Union; and in the South the opinion rapid- 
ly crystallized that the only just or constitutional course for Congress to 
adopt was one of absolute nonintervention. The South demanded 
"simply not to be denied equal rights in settling and colonizing the 
common public domain;" and that when territories should be formed 
into States their people " might be permitted to act as they pleased upon 
the subject of the status of the negro race amongst them, as upon all other 
subjects of internal policy, when they came to form their constitutions." 


In April, 1849, Gen. Bennett Eiley was, by the United States Govern- 
ment, appointed military governor of the newly acquired province of 
California; and in June, by the initiative of President Taylor, who had 
been elected by the Whig party, he called a convention to meet at Mon- 
terey for the purpose of forming a State constitution. This convention 
adopted such a constitution, autislavery in character, on the 13th of 
October, which was ratified by a vote of the people. In December a 
Governor was elected under this constitution, and application was made 
to Congress for admission. A proposition was made to continue the 
line of the Missouri Compromise through the newly acquired territories 
to the Pacific. This measure was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 
thirty-two nays to twenty-four yeas. All of the affirmative votes were 
cast by Southern Senators; and all of the negative votes, except two from 
Missouri and Kentucky, by Northern Senators, Delaware being then 
counted as a Northern State. The pacification effected by the Missouri 
Compromise, and which had endured for thirty years, was now ended. 
There was a furious struggle between the two sections. It was, 
in fact, a struggle for the control of Congress. The North had con- 
trolled the House from the foundation of the government, at first by 
the exclusion of two-fifths of the negro population in the count for ap- 
portionment of representation, and later by its superiority in popula- 
tiou; but the attitude of the Senate was different. There a system of 
admitting States practically in pairs, a Northern and a Southern State 
together, had long been established; so that when the question of the 
admission of California arose the North and the South were equal in 
strength in the Senate, and the admission of California with an anti- 
slavery constitution meant that the North should control both Houses. 
The opposition urged that the organization of California into a State 
without any enabling act of Congress was illegal and revolutionary; that 
the refusal to extend the compromise line to the Pacific, whereby two 
States might in time be formed, one of each class, as theretofore, pro- 
ceeded from a purpose, to admit California as a State, rightly or wrong- 
ly, with an autislavery constitution, in denial of the constitutional and 
equitable rights of the South to have equal practical benefit with the 
North in the territories acquired by their common expenditure of treas- 
ure, suffering, heroism, and blood. They did not deny the abstract 
proposition that each new State should determine for itself what form 
of constitution it would adopt; but they charged that the requisite pop- 
ulation did not yet exist in California, such as it had being mainly com- 
posed of Mexicans, South Americans, and adventurers, drawn thither 
temporarily by the "gold fever," and that the pretended vote on which 
the constitution was based was cast by persons not enfranchised by any 
competent authority, while the region itself was largely under the con- 
trol of military organizations from New York, sent thither during the 


Mexican War, and disbanded in California on the restoration of peace; 
that the powers of the Federal Government were in fact unfairly and 
unconstitutionally used to trammel and defeat the popular will if it was 
favorable to slavery, and they denied that the proposed new State was 
practically allowed to determine the matter for itself. 

This conilict led to the adoption of the celebrated " Compromise 
Measures of 1850," which, in effect, were as follows: California was ad- 
mitted with her free constitution; the remainder of the Mexican cession 
was organized into territories without any provisions as to slavery, thus 
leaving its establishment therein, or exclusion therefrom, to the choice 
of the settlers; certain territory claimed by Texas was purchased from 
her and annexed to New Mexico; the domestic slave trade in the Dis- 
trict of Columbia was abolished, but a pledge given not to interfere else- 
where with slavery or the internal slave trade; and the South was con- 
ceded- a fugitive slave law pi ore efficient than the one passed in 1793. 
The last item of the compromise was advanced as the real compensation 
to the South for the other unacceptable measures. Under the act of 
1793 it was the duty of the Federal Government to return fugitive slaves 
to their owners whenever they had escaped into States other than those 
in which they were held. The Legislatures of thirteen of the nonslave- 
holding States, however, had passed statutes which forbade the State of- 
ficials to cooperate in such cases (such cooperation being a part of the 
scheme of the act of 1793 ), and in many instances riots and bloodshed 
had followed upon attempts of slaveowners to recover their property. 
The act of 1850, therefore, provided for a prompter and more effective 
execution by the Federal Government of its obligation in this respect. 
Most of the Southern people, however, believed not in the efficacy of the 
act of 1850. They regarded, it as a snare. They had no faith that in 
the communities whose sentiment was such as to produce the results in- 
dicated above the Federal officers would carry out, or would be per- 
mitted to carry out, the new act of Congress any more than had been 
done under the previous act of Congress. They felt that they were of- 
fered the shadow for the substance. 

However, notwithstanding these objections and recalcitrations, the act 
admitting California and the Fugitive Slave Law were passed, Califor- 
nia being admitted in September, 1850. 

It will readily be conceived that pending these controversies the South 
was not dormant. In October, 1849, a convention was held in Jackson 
by which resolutions were adopted asserting the equal right of the South 
in and to the free use and enjoyment of the new territories, and by which 
also a convention of delegates from the Southern States was called to 
meet at Nashville in June, 1850, for the purpose of concerting measures 
for the securing of those rights, and others similar in nature. 

On the 21st of January, 1850, Senators Davis and Foote, and the four 

50 LUCIUS Q. C. LA^rAR: 

Representatives from Mississippi, addressed a letter to Gov. Quitman, 
in which they notified him, and through him their common constituents, 
that California would be admitted; that their individual opinions had 
undergone no change; that they regarded such action, under all the cir- 
cumstances of her application, as an attempt to pass the Wilmot Provi- 
so in another form. They said, further, that they desired, through the 
Governor, to submit to the people and the Legislature the single fact that 
California would most likely be admitted with an antislavery constitu- 
tion, and that they should be greatly pleased to have such expression of 
opinion by the Legislature, the Governor, and, if practicable, by the peo- 
ple, as should clearly indicate the course which Mississippi would deem 
it her duty to pursue "in this new emergency." 

This letter was by the Governor submitted to the Legislature, and 
that body on the 5th of March adopted a series of resolutions upon the 
subject, setting forth its view of the situation and particularly that the 
policy theretofore x^ursued by the government in refusing to provide a 
territorial government for California had been and was eminently cal- 
culated to promote, and was about to effect indirectly, the cherished ob- 
ject of the abolitionists, which could not be accomplished by direct 
legislation without a palpable violation of the Constitution; that the 
admission of California under the circumstances would be an act of 
fraud and oppression on the rights of the slaveholding States, and that 
it was the sense of the Legislature that the Senators and Representa- 
tives should to the extent of their ability resist it by all honorable and 
constitutional means. 

Notwithstanding these resolutions, based on the letter calling for 
them, Mr. Foote finally voted for the admission of California, being in- 
duced to do so by the compromise measures detailed above. There- 
npon, at an extra session of the Legislature convened in November, a 
resolution was adopted which set forth the above letter and the above 
resolutions and indorsed the action of Mr. Davis and of the Represent- 
atives, but disapproved the action of Senator Foote and declared that 
" this Legislature does not consider the interests of the State of Missis- 
sippi committed to his charge safe in his keeping." 

The same Legislature passed an act providing for a convention of the 
people, to be held in Jackson in November, 1851, to express their will 
upon the legislation in Congress of the session under consideration and 
especially "to devise and carry into efPect the best means of redress for 
the past and obtain certain security for the future, and to adopt such 
measures for vindicating the sovereignty of the State and the protec- 
tion of its institutions as shall appear to them to be demanded." 

Of course these stirring events created a great commotion in the 
State. There was much difference of opinion upon the efficiency and 
propriety of the compromise measures, but that difference did not pro- 


ceed upon the old party lines. The old parties were disrupted and new 
combinations were formed. Senator Foote did not resign, but showed 
fight. His supporters, calling themselves the "Union party," were com- 
posed in large measure of the old Whigs, reenforced by a considerable 
contingent of Democrats, and they placed him in nomination for Gov- 
ernor. He was oppibsed by ex-Gov. Quitman as the standard bearer of 
the State Eights party. Each party had its candidates for delegates 
to the convention and for members of the Legislature. The canvass 
was very bitter and exciting. The election for delegates came off in 
September, and the Union party was triumphant by a majority of about 
seven thousand. This disastrous result caused Gov. Quitman to relin- 
quish his candidacy, and his party then called upon Mr. Davis to as- 
sume his place as candidate for Governor. This Mr. Davis consented 
to do, resigning his seat in the Senate for that purpose. The condition 
of his health was such, however, as to prevent his participating in the 
canvass to a great extent, and he was defeated at the November election 
by a majority of less than one thousand. 

The convention met in November, and after being in session a week 
or ten days adjourned sine die, after declaring its unalterable fealty to 
the Union. 

It was in this canvass that Prof. Lamar encountered Mr. Foote. The 
Senator, flushed with the triumph of the September election, was ap- 
pointed to speak at Oxford. The State Eights party were without a 
champion. They appealed to Lamar to represent them. Notwithstand- 
ing the fact that the call was unexpected and on only a few hours' no- 
tice, he consented. It was a great compliment to him, a young man of 
only twenty-six, but it was also a fierce ordeal. He had had no practice 
in polemical discussions, and was without experience in practical poli- 
tics. His antagonist was an experienced and trained politician of the 
highest official position, who had been driven to bay and was now ex- 
ulting in victory, whose adroitness and pugnacity were unmatched in 
the State, whose hot temper and personal courage were proverbial, and 
whose tongue was untiring and vitriolic. 

Of Prof. Lamar's speech on that occasion nothing now remains, ap- 
parently, except a few pages of his own manuscript, containing a num- 
ber of hurried and fragmentary notes. So far as they go, his line of 
argument was as follows: 

He felt keenly his own incompetency to encounter one who was so greatly his own 
superior in age, position, abilities, and experience; one who was practiced as a de- 
bater on every field from the hustings to the Senate chamber ; one who, hear of him 
where you will at home, is speaking; and who, hear of him when you will, is demol- 
ishing every one who meets hini on the stump ; and who is said to have spoken on a 
single clause of a bill seventeen times from seventeen different seats, showing him- 
self as expert on the wing as at rest. The gentleman came not only equipped with 
his own great abilities, native and acquired, but also panoplied in the armor furnished 


to him by his Northern allies in the battle against the South recently fought at the 
capital and now renewed belore his constituents. Even so, however, the discussion 
would not be so unequal as it is if only the gentleman drew his facts from sources ac- 
cessible to both ; but he will tell you of his expectations, founded upon reports picked 
up during his pilgrimages to the North or gathered from his numerous correspond- 
ents, of whom the speaker never heard and of whom you know he has many, whose 
disclosures he publishes or keeps to himself, as shall best serve his purposes. 

But the speaker did not consider himself at liberty to consult his own reputation 
or interests. The State was entitled to all that he was, be it little or much ; and have 
it she should, whether her summons is to the lecture room, the hustings, the field, or 
the gibbet, if it be treason to obey her call against the Senator's particular friends. 
Clay, Cass, and Webster— par nobile frairum. 

The gentleman appears before you in a singular attitude. He presents himself as 
the prosecutor of his constituents. He has discovered many egregious sins in the 
late action of the Legislature of his State, and has visited upon them a punishment 
which, in his estimation, doubtless is equal to their transgression: the weight of his 
senatorial condemnation. The speaker did tliink that the case of the Stale vs. Foote 
stood upon the docket before that of Foole vs. the State. There were grave charges 
against the gentleman which he must clear up before he could animadvert upon his 
constituency. We protest against his discussing any other questions until he shall 
have placed himself rectus in curid, until he shall have answered the charges against 
himself. He is charged, and the speaker pledges himself to prove those charges to 
be true, with knowingly and willfully misrepresenting the sentiments of the people of 
his State as made known to him through lier only constitutional organ of communi- 
cation ; with doing what he knew that his State Legislature did not wish him to do 
— nay, with doing what it positively forbade him to do — nay, with doing what he re- 
quested it to instruct him not to do — and at the same time with abandoning tlie cher- 
ished principles and friends of the South, leaguing with her enemies on matters vital 
to the South's prosperity and honor, exerting his acknowledged abilities against the 
recognition of her most earnest and righteous demands, committing in the meantime 
every variety of gross inconsistency. 

Tlie gentleman's motives are not impugned. He says that they were good, and 
says, furthermore, that his efforts have been beneficial to his section. He has cer- 
tainly been performing before the country some very remarkable evolutions, begin- 
ning with his displays at the opening of the last Congress. His political friends and 
foes alike have been dazzled and confounded by his gyrations. He began the session 
by indulging in fiery ultraism, which shocked his conservative free-soil friends at the 
North and caused them to hold up their pious hands in holy horror at his savage 
talk. But he finished by assisting to fasten upon us the very wrongs which he de- 
nouncefl, and declaring that there is no aggression upon the South and that she has 
nothing to complain of. It has been said that when the English were in China one 
of the stratagems to which they resorted to frighten the poor Celestials out of their 
wits was to tie skyrockets to their heels at night and turn somersaults in full view of 
the enemy's camp. The result is said to have been amazingly successful, and it may 
be that the gentleman has attempted to steal their thunder. At all events he has ex- 
hibited some very remarkable specimens of ground and lofty tumbling at Washing- 
ton. But alas! instead of frightening the enemy, he has turned a somersault into 
their camp, and now attempts to speak his old friends into the delusion that he has 
taken the whole force prisoners of war. The Soutli, says he, gets everything; the 
North, those wily old politicians, Cass, Webster, Fillmore, have all been hoodwinked. 
We have met the enemy, and they are ours! So much for his first fight. Having 
whipped the North, he now begins to whip the South. The speaker, for one, will not 


decline the fight, hoping from his heart that the Senator will gain over him just such 
a victory as he gained over the North. 

With his usual and characteristic positiveness the Senator asserts that the only is- 
sue before you is union or disunion. We are prepared to meet that issue when it 
comes from the proper authority, and at the proper time ; but it is not before you on 
this occasion, nor has the gentleman the right to force it before you. He promised at 
Washington to present to the people a very different issue, and the only one he is 
competent to discuss before them — ^viz., do they, or do they not, approve of the mis- 
called compromise measures. Listen to his own language in the Senate chamber 
(reading from Mr. Foote's speech). These words were hardly cold before he received 
from his constituents, in terms of direct censure, their reprobation of these measures 
and ofjiis agency in the adoption of them, through the resolutions of the Legislature, 
for the passage of which he is responsible. Instead of resigning his place upon this 
intimation, with no precedent for his conduct but that set by Thomas H. Benton 
(whom he has himself denounced), he holds on to his post, and appeals to the peo- 
ple of his State to sustain him in his course. Now what do the people say? Let us 
see what the organ of the Union party (the gentleman's own organ) says (reading) : 
. . . Now has the gentleman redeemed his pledge to resign if all he has said be not 
approved? No; but he appears before you, and in order to divert your minds from 
the grave offenses with which he is charged he proclaims, with an authority which 
seems to admit of no denial, that the only issue is union or disunion. 

Whatever differences may exist among the people with regard to the remedies for 
the injuries of which we complain, whether they shall deem it best to correct these 
evils by means of the ballot box, or by means of disunion, one thing is certain, or else 
the speaker has mistaken the high-hearted freemen of Mississippi — they will never 
again listen to the counsels of one who assisted their enemies in festening such meas- 
ures upon them ; they will brook no dictation from such a quarter. Even the Union 
men of this State shall be convinced that Mr. Foote is not the man whose leadership 
even they should acknowledge; and that, for the plain reason that his being a Union 
man to-day is no guaranty that he will not be a fire eater tomorrow, what he advises 
and promises to-day he will repudiate to-morrow, what he espouses to-day he will de- 
nounce to.-morrow, whom he hails as friends to-day he will count as enemies to-mor- 
row, whom he attacks as enemies to-day he will colleague with to-morrow. That this 
is true the speaker now proceeds to prove. 

A few things must be premised. It is unnecessary to point out the clauses of the 
Constitution which protect slavery. It needs not to tell you that but for those clauses 
the Southern States would never have come into the Confederacy. All this you know. 
The Northern States ratified that instrument with a full knowledge of its terms, and 
thereby incurred the most solemn obligation that can be imposed upon a nation hon- 
estly and faithfully to maintain it in all its stipulations. How has that obligation 
been fulfilled? Hear Mr. Foote's answer to that question, given in company with 
many Southern men whom he has since deserted: " It has been fulfilled by hostile 
acts on the part of the Northern States intended to render it of noneffect, and with 
so much success," etc. (See address of the Southern Congressmen.) So spoke the gen- 
tleman in the days of his Southernism. What has changed his tone? " Why at that 
time the fugitive slave bill was not passed." But a slave bill had then been passed 
under which a hundred negroes have been reclaimed for one that has been reclaimed 
under the late bill. What have we gained by this bill? The gentteman's complaint 
was of hostile enactments. Have they been repealed ? The complaint was that those 
enactments rendered the Constitution inoperative; can a statute disarm them of a 
power which overcame the Constitution? Those infamous enactments all stand unre- 
pealed ; and nine hundred and forty abolition clubs are still working out, with a more 
terrific enginery, their infernal schemes. Every one knows that a Southern man 


cannot go into the North for the purpose of recovering his slave without encounter- 
ing resistance, from hostile legislation, from officers of the law, and from mohs of 
hoth colors^ The efficacy of the late bill has been tried in a few cases, and those who 
went, under its panoply, to recover their property, were insulted, prosecuted, impris- 
oned, and subjected to every kind of pecuniary loss. You hear of no claims made un- 
der it in these days, and I doubt whether you will ever hear of another in Massachu- 
setts, or ten more in all the free States put together. The old law, according to Mr. 
Webster, was less favorable to the fugitive than.the present one. Under its operation 
we did save a few slaves, and it was never resisted by an armed mob in open court. 
Claims under both have ceased as worthless. The gentleman, who was so rampant at 
the disrespect shown to the first, is so well satisfied with the last that he is willing to 
be kicked out of California, abandon 36: 30, and carve out of Texas a very respectable 
State for the free-soilers, simply for the pure gratification which it afi'ords him. Un- 
der its comforting securities, he visits the North, partakes of her festivities, speaks of 
course— and what did he say? Did he brand them to their faces as recreants, lost to 
honor until they should blot out from their statute books their unconstitutional laws? 
No ; but he glorified the Union. 

But let us look seriously at the gentleman's explanation. It is this : that all of these 
objections were to the admission of California as a separate measure, and that he was 
always willing that she should come in under a general scheme of compromise. Now, 
fellow-citizens, he said that that admission of California was the Wilmot Proviso in 
another form — ^nay, worse than the Wilmot Proviso. I put the question to you, and 
I wish you to think well upon it, could any scheme of compromise justify your Sena- 
tor in fastening the Wilmot Proviso upon you? How, then, can such a scheme justi- 
fy him in fastening upon you a measure worse than that proviso? 

Unfortunately for the gentleman, the only time that he spoke of the admission of 
California as part of a compromise scheme he specified what that compromise should 
be. Here is his language: "If all other questions connected with the subject of slav- 
ery can be satisfactorily adjusted, I see no objection to admitting all California above 
the line of 36:30 into the Union, provided another new slave State can be laid off 
within the present limits of Texas, so as to keep up the present equiponderance be- 
tween the slave and the free States of the Union ; and provided, further, that.all this is 
done by way of compromise, and in order to save the Union — as dear to me as to any 
man living." Here the gentleman lays down that general scheme of compromise 
which alone would reconcile him to the admission of California — namely, that her 
southern boundary should be 36: 30, and that another slave State should be admitted 
with 36: 30 as her boundary, and this to be considered only as an extreme concession, 
made in order to save the Union. 

In passing it will not be improper to show what different and opposite reasons the 
gentleman gives for his conduct at different times. While he acted with the Southern 
party he gave as a reason for not pffering this scheme of compromise that the aggres- 
sive spirit of the North determined him to offer no more compromises. But when he 
left his old Southern associates, so anxious is he to throw odium upon them that he 
relieves the North of all the blame of his withholding the plan just mentioned, and 
throws it upon Mr. Calhoun and the Southern Senators. 

Here the notes stop abruptly. It is to be regretted that they are so 
meager, and deal almost exclusively with the more personal portions of 
the speech; for this debate with Mr. Foots is understood to have been 
the foundation of Mr. Lamar's subsequent political advancement. It 
was the flood which led on to fame, albeit not to fortune. His success 


was considered phenomenal. The college students, especially, were wild 
with excitement and pride, and bore him away from the hustings upon 
their shoulders. Judge C. P. Smith, then upon the bench of the High 
Court of Errors and Appeals, was present, and he enthusiastically re- 
lated in Jackson, to auditors somewhat incredulous, the powers of the 
young orator who had appeared in Lafayette County. 

It is. a striking and ciarious thing to find Mr. Lamar in this debate 
pressing Mr. Foote about his disregard of the legislative instructions. 
The latter was then in the zenith of his fame and power in Mississippi; 
the former, at his dawning. It is believed to be the only time they ever 
met in joint discussion. It was at the crisis of Mr. Foote's career. 
Thirty years later the same question, as shall be seen, confronted Mr. 
Lamar in the very crisis of his fate and in the fullness of his political 
career— of which, however, in its proper place. 


Eeligious Impressions— Hon. Jacob Thompson— Prof. Albert T. Bledsoe— Return to 
Covington, Ga.— In the Georgia Legislature— Moves to Macon, Ga.— Candidate for 
Congress from Third District— Returns to Mississippi— " Solitude "—Practices Law 
— C. H. Mott — James L. Autrey — Congressman or Professor? 

ALTHOUGH Mr. Lamar was busy about the duties of his professor- 
ship and his law practice, and although he made occasional excur- 
sions into the field of politics, those topics did not engross his attention. 
At this period his thoughts Jiovered much over the subject of religion. 
The impressions on that subject received at Emory College continued. 
His correspondence with his sister, Mrs. Wiggins, dealt with them; and 
in it he expressed the most orthodox views, declaring himself to be " a 
firm and unwavering believer in the truths of the Bible." She, how- 
ever, admonished him that to be such a believer his opinions must in- 
fluence his conduct and govern his life. Dr. John N. Waddel, then a 
professor in the university (afterwards Chancellor), in his "Academic 
Memorials," says: 

I remember a casual conversation I held with him during his first years in Oxford, 
in which, as we spoke of his future, he remarked that he would not be surprised if 
he should end his life work in the ministry of the Methodist Church. My reply was: 
" No, sir; you will surely pass your life in the world of politics." My own impression 
is that Mr. Lamar had from his earlier manhood kept steadily in view the career of 

He had not united himself with any church, but had it in serious 

This life continued for two years. In the summer of 1852 he re- 
signed his connection with the university and returned to Covington, 
Ga., in order to engage in the practice of law in partnership with Mr. 
Robert G. Harper, the man of whom he said in the address at Emory 
College in 1870, quoted in a previous chapter: "To whom my own soul 
was knit as was David to Jonathan." Mr. Harper had been corre- 
sponding with Prof. Lamar with a view to this partnership for more 
than a year; and his letters bear the strongest evidence of intense per- 
sonal devotion to Mr. Lamar, of high aspirations in his profession, and 
of an inflexible determination to achieve its best possibilities. 

Two things which have not yet been touched on should be noted in 
connection with Mr. Lamar's stay at the University of Mississippi. It 
was there and then that he met the Hon. Jacob Thompson, for whom 
he entertained always the highest regard, and whose kindness to him- 
self and encouraging attentions he ever held in grateful remembrance. 


Mr. Thompson was then a member of Congress, and also a trustee of 
the university. Years afterwards, on the occasion of Mr. Thompson's 
death, Mr. Lamar wrote to a niece a letter of sympathy, saying, among 
other things: 

He was one of the few men whose presence in thi^ world invested my own life 
with much of its own interest. I first met him in 1849. I was then a youth only 
twenty-four years of age, while he was near the zenith of his high honors and intel- 
lectual powers. I had then, as I am now aware, many faults of high temper and im- 
patient aspirations; but he was on all occasions kind, considerate, and sympathetic to 
me, when on some he might well have been austere and reserved. My first nomina- 
tion to Congress was due largely to Mr. Thompson's influence, openly exerted in my 
behalf against very distinguished and powerful men in the district. From that time 
to the day of his death our friendship, personal and political, has been unbroken. 

The second fact to be observed, as remarked above, was the effect of 
Mr. Lamar's association for two years with Dr. Albert T. Bledsoe, his 
professor in chief. The relations between the two men were most cor- 
dial. The Doctor was gifted with a massive and vigorous intellect, 
trained to the most acute and logical processes of reasoning. He was 
not a mathematician merely, but a philosopher also, and was deeply 
learned in both political and theological science. In after years he was 
fond of saying that he "taught Lucius how to think. '"" It is remem- 
bered that on one occasion after Mr. Lamar went into the Senate this 
remark was repeated to him. He smiled a little, pondered awhile, and 
then remarked: "Well, there is a good deal in it." His bearing and 
comment were such as to indicate that while he thought the Doctor's 
claim rather too sweeping, yet he acknowledged a debt to him for great 
service in mental training. He certainly held the Doctor in the highest 
esteem during the remainder of his life. 

Mr. Lamar prospered in Covington. In the autumn of 1853, notwith- 
standing the facts that he was a Democrat and that in Newton County 
the Whigs were in an immense majority, lie was elected to the Legisla- 
ture. He had not been in the House more than a month before he 
came to the front as a leader. 

During the session there were so many motions to suspend the rules to take up 
business out of its order that a resolution was adopted requiring a two-thirds vote to 
suspend the rules. In a day or two thereafter a resolution was offered to suspend the 
rules to bring on some important election, probably that of a Senator, and fixing a 
day for it. The Democrats, having a majority, would be able to elect their candidate. 
The Whigs opposed the motion to suspend the rules, and Mr. Thomas Hardeman, the 
member from Bibb, led in the opposition. He made a speech against it, and on a 
vote being taken, the Democrats, only having some twelve or fifteen majority, failed 
to carry it by a two-thirds vote, upon which there was consternation on the Democratic 
side and rejoicing on the Whig side. The Democrats felt that they were caught in 
the trap, and many were the anxious faces on the part of the majority. The next 
day, on a motion to reconsider, Mr. Lamar made his first speech. He was then 


young, not more than twenty-seven, with a handsome face, a full head of dark hair, 
brilliant eyes, in figure rather below the medium height, handsomely dres.-ed, with 
fine, musical voice. He at once attracted the attention of the House. In a short 
speech of not more than thirty minutes he captured the whole assembly. I remem- 
ber how he scathed the motives of those who would thus seek to defeat an election 
that under the law and constitution had been devolved upon the-General Assembly. 

Such an excitement as was produced by his speech I never saw in that body. 
When he finished no one sought to reply. A vote was taken, and a large majority 
reconsidered the action of the House of the preceding day, and the resolution passed 
with almost a unanimous vote. 

His speech was a remarkable exhibition of the power of the orator and logician, 
and his appeal to his opponents to step manfully and patriotically forward to dis- 
charge their duty was so overwhelming that all party spirit was subdued, even in the 
breast of the most bitter partisan, and none even ventured a reply.* 

In the summer of 1854, the health of Mr. Harper having failed, and de- 
siring a larger field, Mr. Lamar moved to the town of Macon, offering 
there for a practice. He soon had a respectable business, albeit a small 
one, placed into his hands. In the autumn of that year, however, a corre- 
spondence began between himself and Judge Longstreet, the immediate 
result of which was that he carried his negroes out to Mississippi to 
work a farm jointly with the Judge, and under his general supervision; 
but which later contributed to more important results. On the 7th of 
March, 1855, he writes from Macon to Judge Longstreet thus: 

Judge Stark said to me that I must make up my mind to run for Congress this 
year; that I am the unanimous choice of my district — of the Democracy. Col. Chap- 
pell says that I must not think of anvthing else but going. It is thought by my 
friends that I can get one hundred votes in Bibb over any one else. I have been 
spoken to from all quarters about it, and the public sentiment of my own party seems 
pretty well fixed on me as the next nominee. If I let my name go before the con- 
vention, I shall certainly be nominated, unless the convention is packed so as to nom- 
inate some other aspirant, which it is very easy to do under the district system. Now 
what do you think? Stick to my profession and try to make something, or go to 
Congress if I can and be in the fight against the free-soilers? The next Congress will 
be an exciting one, you know. 

At this period Macon was in the Third Congressional District, the rep- 
resentative of which in Congress was the Hon. David J. Bailey. The 
Whig party had been disorganized by the death of Henry Clay, and in 
the year previous (1854) the Know-nothing party had come to the front, 
sweeping several Northern States, including New York. In Georgia 
the Know-nothings were in the majority in the towns and cities, and 
the Third District was favorable to them. It was doubted whether Mr. 
Bailey would make the race in the election then approaching, and Mr. 
Lamar's name was brought prominently forward as the Democratic 
candidate. Later, however, it was ascertained that Mr. Bailey would 
run for the office, whereupon Mr. Lamar, in order to preserve the har- 

* From article by W. B. Hill, Esq., in The Green Bag of April, 1898. 


mony of the party, published an open letter desiring that his claims 
should not be urged before the approaching convention. 

The friends of Mr. Lamar, however, refused to recognize his with- 
drawal. When the nominating convention met at Forsyth on the 22d 
of May, the delegation from Bibb, led by Edward D. Tracey, made a 
most gallant fight for his nomination. The two-thirds rule was adopted, 
but without specifying whether the vote to elect should be two-thirds 
of those voting or of those entitled to vote. After a severe struggle, 
amidst great confusion (for the Bailey men seem to have been disposed 
to unruliness, even to the point of threatening to bolt), the eleventh 
ballot was taken, several of the friends of Col. Bailey refusing to vote. 
Lamar received eighteen votes to Bailey's nine, and his friends claimed 
that he was nominated — as. Id deed, he was, by well-settled rules of par- 
liamentary law; but the Chair refused to so hold, and referred the ques- 
tion to the convention, which decided by a majority vote that there had 
been no nomination. This decision produced more excitement, result- 
ing in a deadlock. The upshot of it all was that James M. Smith, Esq., 
was finally put before the convention, and was nominated on the next 
following ballot. 

However, this disappointment may not have made much real differ- 
ence. The Democratic ticket was defeated in the following election; 
and whether the belief of his friends that Mr. Lamar could have carried 
the election would have been justified by the event had he been nomi- 
nated, there is, of course, no way to determine. He took an active part 
in the campaign, making speeches against the Know-nothing party. 

In October, 1855, Mr. Lamar returned to Mississippi, and this time, 
as the event proved, finally. Possibly disappointment about, his Con- 
gressional aspirations and chagrin over the ascendency of Know-noth- 
ingism in his vicinity, may have been contributing causes to this step, 
although the correspondence of the family discloses nothing of such 
sentiments. There were other reasons, of themselves sufficient. His 
professional income from his practice in Macon was not satisfactory. 
He and his wife owned a number of slaves whose services could not be 
by him made profitable in Georgia, and who had, therefore, as has been 
stated, been sent out to Mississippi to be employed under the direction 
of Judge Longstreet; it was desirable that the Judge should be relieved 
of that barden to some extent. Then there was constant apprehension 
as to the healthfulness of Macon. Moreover (and in all likelihood the 
most powerful motive of all), there was the longing to reunite the broken 
family circle. 

Of this move, one of Mr. Lamar's correspondents wrote from Coving- 
ton: "Your friends seem to regret much your resolution again to leave 
the State, and some of them express this feeling and their surprise in 
language more forcible than elegant." 


Mr. Lamar, upon returniDg to Mississippi, did not take a residence 
in Oxford as before. He purchased a plantation, which he called " Sol- 
itude." It embraced about eleven hundred acres, and lay one mile east 
of the railroad (now the Illinois Central), then just building, on the 
southern bank of the Tallahatchee Eiver, which curved partly around 
it. The place was well timbered with cypress and several varieties of 
oak. There was an excellent dwelling with four rooms, and there were 
quite a number of cabins for the negroes, with all the usual outhouses. 
Here he lived during the year 1856 and part of 1857. The Branhams 
were with him during most of the time, the Doctor being interested 
with him in the cultivation of the farm. The crops were good, and the 
lands enhanced in value. 

The family have many traditions about the stay at "Solitude." It 
was the life of the Southern farmer of the highest type. Surrounded 
by his slaves, to whom he was at once master, guardian, and friend, 
loved and petted by his women folk and his children, visited by culti- 
vated and attractive friends for days and even weeks, and visiting them 
in turn; the summers were devoted to the growing of cotton and corn,, 
while the winters were occupied in killing hogs, curing bacon sides and 
delicious hams, making sausages, and trying out snowy lard. Over 
these latter functions his wife, as was customary witli even the most re- 
fined Southern ladies, presided. An ice house, which was a great curi- 
osity in that neighborhood, and the stored treasures of wbich were a 
singular luxury at that period of slow transportation, had also to be 

Of the life of the Southern planter Mr. Lamar spoke eloquently thir- 
ty-two years later in his great oration on Mr. Calhoun. In that fine 
passage he manifestly spoke not only from his observation, but also from 
personal experience. He said: 

Would that I had the power to portray a Southern planter's home! The sweet 
and noble associations; the pure, refining, and elevating atmosphere of a household 
presided over by a Southern matron ; the tranquil yet active occupations of a large 
land owner, full of interest and high moral responsibilities; the alliance between 
man's intellect and nature's laws of production ; the hospitality, heartfelt, simple, and 
generous. The Southern planter was far from being the self-indulgent, indolent, 
coarse, and overbearing person that he has sometimes been pictured. He was, in 
general, careful, patient, provident, industrious, forbearing, and yet firm and deter- 
mined. These were the qualities which enabled him to take a race of untamed sav- 
ages, with habits that could only inspire disgust, with no arts, no single tradition of 
civilization, and out of such a people to make the finest body of agricultural and do- 
mestic laborers that the world has ever seen; and, indeed, to elevate them in the 
scale of rational existence to such a height as to cause them to be deemed fit for ad- 
mission into the charmed circle of American freedom, and to be clothed with the 
rights and duties of American citizenship. 

In the communion with himself, in the opportunities for continued study, and in 
the daily and yearly provision for a numerous body of dependents, for all of whom 


he felt himself responsible, about whom his anxieties were ever alive, whose tasks 
he apportioned, and whose labors he directed, he was educated in those faculties and 
personal qualities which enabled him to emerge from his solitude and preside in the 
County Court or become a member of his State Legislature, to discharge the duties of 
local magistracy or to take his place in the national councils. 

The solution of the enigma of the so-called slave power may be sought here. Its 
basis lay in that cool, vigorous judgment and unerring sense applicable to the ordi- 
nary affairs and intercourse of men which the Southern mode of life engendered and 
fostered. The habits of industry, firmness of purpose, fidelity to dependents, self- 
reliance, and the sentiment of justice in all the various relations of life which were 
necessary to the management of a well-ordered plantation fitted men to guide Legis- 
latures and command armies. 

But the duties of the plantation did not chiefly engage Mr. Lamar's 
attention or enlist his interest. Those eighteen months were mainly 
devoted to study. There was a small office, remote from the house and 
withdrawn from the noises and little daily excitements of the family, in 
which he passed most of his time at work with his books of law, poli- 
tics, and philosophy — in the summer, under a mosquito bar spread like 
a tent in the middle of the room. He used to say that the hardest and 
most profitable study of his life was done at " Solitude." 

It was at this time, also, and while he lived at " Solitude," that he 
formed a partnership for the practice of law with Christopher H. Mott 
and James L. Autrey. The firm of Lamar, Mott & Autrey kept their of- 
fice in Holly Springs, and it endured until dissolved by the Civil War, 
albeit each member of the firm was occasionally absent for long periods 
on other pursuits. 

Here we must pause to consider the lives and characters of the two 
gentlemen with whom Mr. Lamar came into so intimate a relation. Of 
the two, his favorite and more intimate friend was Mr. Mott— a man to 
whose memory he was devoted during the whole of his after life. We 
have seen that he declared that his attachment in his earlier manhood, 
and in Georgia, to Hon. Eobert G. Harper was that of David to Jona- 
than. In Mr. Mott we find the friend of a later period for whom his 
love was of equal strength and from whose admiration and support he 
derived as great benefit and drew as much of encouragement in his mo. 
ments of despondency. 

Christopher Haynes Mott was born in Livingston County, Ky., on 
the 22d of June, 1826. At a very early age he~was brought by his par- 
ents to Mississippi, where they settled in the beautiful and polished lit- 
tle city of Holly Springs. His early education was received at St. 
Thomas' Hall, a school founded by the celebrated Episcopalian divine. 
Dr. Francis L. Hawkes; and he completed his studies at the Transyl- 
vania University, in Lexington, Ky. He studied law under the gifted 
Eoger Barton. Hardly had he been called to the bar when the Mexican 
war broke out. Burning with the martial ardor of a born soldier, he 
■ entered service as a lieutenant in the Marshall Guards, a company of 


the celebrated First Mississippi Regiment, then commanded by Col. 
Jefferson Davis. At the battles of Monterey and Buena Vista he won 
distinction for general good conduct and for gallantry. The war over, 
he returned to the practice of law; was sent by the county to the State 
Legislature; later was elevated to the position of Probate Judge. While 
occupying this position he was appointed by the United States Govern- 
ment on a special mission to California to inquire into certain alleged 
abuses in the service in that region, which duty he discharged in the 
most thorough, intelligent, and satisfactory manner. When the Civil 
War began he was among the earliest in the field. The Secession 
Convention made him a brigadier general of the army of the State, but 
he resigned that post in order to accept employment in the regular 
army, when he was made Colonel of the Nineteenth Mississippi Eegi- 
ment, raised by his own exertions, and the first Mississippi regiment 
organized for service during the whole period of the war. 

Col. Mott was a man after Mr. Lamar's own heart; a faithful and dil- 
igent lawyer, an upright and sympathetic judge, a gallant and intrepid 
soldier, a chivalric and generous gentleman; modest but firm, charita- 
ble, tender of heart yet quick to perceive a slight and prompt to punish 
an injury, a friend to love and a foe to fear; through all his eventful 
and sparkling life there yet ran a vein of sadness, the result of a tem- 
perament somewhat melancholy acting upon a body not wholly strong. 
Besides the attraction of their mutual sympathies there was another tie 
between the two men: that of friendship and love existing between 
their wives, inherited from a former generation of Longstreets and 

James L. Autrey was born in 1830, it is thought in Jackson, Tenn. 
His father was one of the immortal band of heroes who ofiered their 
lives at the Alamo in the cause of Texan independence. His widowed 
mother removed to Holly Springs, and there he was educated at St. 
Thomas' Hall. In early youth he gave promise of superior talents, 
unusual readiness in repartee, and a sparkling wit, which made him a 
most interesting child. He soon manifested both taste and capacity 
for politics. At the age of twenty-two he was sent to the State Legis- 
lature, and served in that body continuously for a number of terms. In 
the session of 1858-59 he was elected Speaker of the House, and was 
notable as the youngest man ever honored with that position. He was 
a Democrat of the strictest and a politician of the best type. He was 
ambitious, but generous and true — in every respect a noble man. Upon 
the outbreak of the war he also was among the first to throw himself 
into the front, and was soon elevated to the rank of lieutenant colonel. 

Mott and Autrey both sealed with their blood their devotion to the 
cause which they espoused. The former fell at Williamsburg, the lat- 
ter at Murfreesboro; and the sign of Lamar, Mott & Autrey, torn from_ 


its fastenings in the peaceful interior village by invading hosts, was 
afterwards picked up in the Mississippi Eiver, a derelict on its way to 
the gulf. 

But this is both a digression and an anticipation. We shall return 
to Mr. Lamar at " Solitude." 

Judge Longstreet, who, it may be remembered, had resigned the 
presidency of the State University in 1856, was living in the village of 
Abbeville, only two miles away. This agreeable life was ended in the 
latter part of the year 1857 by the election of the Judge to the presi- 
dency of the Soath Carolina College, and by the election of Mr. Lamar 
to Congress. 

Lafayette County was in the First Congressional District, which at 
that time embraced the northern fifth of the State. On the 3d of 
March, 1857, the term of the Hon. Daniel B. Wright, the representa- 
tive in Congress for that district, expired, and of course it became nec- 
essary to elect his successor. On the 16th of that month a communi- 
cation appeared in the Memphis Appeal, then the most popular and 
influential newspaper taken in that section of the country, proposing 
Mr. Lamar as the Democratic candidate for Congress. He himself had 
in some way obtained information that such a communication had been 
sent to the paper, and wrote to the editor to withhold it from publica- 
tion, since it might place him in an unpleasant attitude toward other 
aspirants. To that letter the editor, Mr. B. F. Dill, replied that he was 
one day too late; that the communication could do him no harm, and 
that Mr. Lamar could command his services. Throughout the whole 
of his public career this paper was Mr. Lamar's stanch and unfalter- 
ing friend. 

Another movement was in progress at the same time in respect to Mr. 
Lamar. In May he was approached through William F. Stearns, Esq., 
the Professor of Law, anent his acceptance of the chair of Metaphysics 
in the university. Prof. Stearns wrote, presenting strongly the desira- 
ble features of the proposed arrangement, its offering a comfortable 
support, its adaptation to his own cast of mind and habit of thought, 
the anxiety of the Faculty to include him amongst their number, and 
urging that he, "without question, would be happier here than at the 
bar." This proposition was seriously entertained, and would doubtless 
have been finally accepted but for the action of the congressional nom- 
inating convention. 


The Kansas-Nebraska Bill— The Struggle for Kansas— The Nicaragua Affair— Elected 
to Congress from First District— Correspondence on Questions of the Day— First 
Speech in Congress— Eozell Letter— The Keitt-Grow Fight— The Vallandigham- 
Campbell Contest— A Professorship Contemplated— Dr. Barnard's Letter — Speech 
at Jackson on Douglas — Eulogy on Harris — Speech on the Tariff. 

WE have now reached that period in the life of Mr. Lamar when he 
entered the arena of national politics as an actor in its conflicts, 
its defeats, and its victories. The stage of preparation is past; that of 
vigorous work begins. He commenced his public career at a most in- 
teresting and dramatic era — when the struggle over slavery was drawing 
to its crisis; when the rising of a new political supremacy was kindling 
the horizon into a lurid dawn which foreboded a terrible tempest. 

The intense opposition of Mr. Lamar and of those with whom he was 
in sympathy to the compromise measures of 1850 has been narrated in 
a previous chapter; but the appeals to the people by the elections of 
1851 showed that a majority of the Southern people favored those meas- 
ures, and settled that question. Acquiescence in the compromise, and 
in its fulfillment, became the settled political policy. So entirely was 
this true that, in their national conventions of 1852, both the Whigs and 
the Democrats expressly indorsed the compromise and pledged them- 
selves to maintain it. Notwithstanding this, however, great opposition 
was manifested North to the practical enforcement of the new fugitive 
slave law, which was one of its features; and the Southern people com- 
plained bitterly that its operation was defeated, and the law itself in 
efPect nullified. ,- ,^ 

At the session of Congress of 1843-44 a bill was introduced for the 
organization of Nebraska Territory. The Committee on Territories, of 
which Mr. Douglas, of Illinois, was chairman, reported favorably. The 
bill provided that " the said Territory, or any portion of the same, shall 
be received into the Union with or without slavery, as their constitution 
may prescribe at the time of their admission," which terms were copied 
literally from the Utah and New Mexican bills of 1850. The commit- 
tee's report referred to the compromise measures of 1850, and justified 
that provision by those measures. It said that 

In the judgment of your committee those measures were intended to have a far 
more comprehensive and enduring effect than the mere adjustment of the difficulties 
arising out of the recent acquisition of Mexican territory. They were designed to es- 
tablish certain great principles which would not only furnish adequate remedies for 
existing evils, but, in all time to come, avoid the perils of a similar agitation by with- 


drawing the question of slavery from the halls of Congress and the political arena, and 
committing it to the arbitrament of those who were immediately interested in it, and 
alone responsible for its consequences. 

Here again arose a great and bitter controversy. The opponents of 
the bill declared that the compromise of 1850 had no relation to any 
territory except that acquired from Mexico, and that the effort to extend 
it to the Louisiana purchase was a violation of the Missouri Compro- 
mise, and was a breach of faith oil the part of the proslavery party; 
while the supporters of the measure declared that the compromise of 
1850 was intended to cover all controversies, merged all previous disputes, 
and had itself already repealed the restrictive provisions of the Missouri 
Compromise by necessary implication. The bill passed. Tha test vote 
in the Senate showed, by States, twenty-one for it, seven against it, and 
three divided. Amongst thosa States voting yea were New Hampshire, 
Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Delaware, and Califor- 
nia. The divided votes were those of Connecticut, Tennessee, and Tex- 
as. But passed as the bill was, and although not on a sectional vote, it 
aroused an immense opposition; and again hot blood and hot words be- 
came the order of the day. 

Before the bill was passed it was so amended as to provide for the or- 
ganization of Kansas Territory also, thereby becoming designated as the 
" Kansas-Nebraska bill." So soon as it became a law a strenuous 
struggle began between some of the advocates of slavery extension and 
some of its opponents for the possession of the Territory, whereby its 
status as a free or a slave Territory should be determined according to 
the provisions of the organizing act. There was a rush across the border 
from Missouri of proslavery settlers, and a few weeks later, under the 
auspices of emigrant aid societies in Massachusetts, of antislavery set- 
tlers from New England. Then ensued a great turmoil, which was 
finally pushed to the extreme of midnight butchery and civil war. Each 
side charged the other with beginning the career of violence; each 
charged the other with fraudulent voting at the first general election. 
A census taken in February, 1855, showed 1,670 registered voters from 
Southern States, 1,018 from the North, and 217 from other countries; 
but at the election in March over six thousand votes were cast, the ex- 
cessive poll being caused, to a considerable extent at least, by a large 
fraudulent vote from Missouri. The proslavery party carried the day 
and organized the first territorial government, the Legislature consist- 
ing of twenty-eight proslavery and eleven antislavery members. This 
Legislature was recognized by the Federal Government, and entered 
upon its work. It adopted a strong slavery code. The antislavery peo- 
ple in Kansas, however, repudiated the territorial government, and 
carried their opposition to it to the very verge of war against it as such. 
They denounced it as an illegal, usurping, and bogus concern ; they im- 


ported supplies of Sharpe's rifles and organized companies, avowing their 
determination, if need be, to put down the lawful government by force; 
they held conventions, by one of which a general convention was called 
to meet at Topeka in October, 1855, for the purpose of forming a State 
constitution and applying for admission into the Union. The delegates 
to this general convention received in the aggregate 2,710 votes, but the 
supporters of the territorial government looked upon the whole proceed- 
ing as a farce, and did not vote. The Topeka convention, so called, adopt- 
ed an antislavery constitution, with a feature excluding negroes from the 
State ; and this constitution was ratified by a vote of 1,731 to 46 — the sup- 
porters of the territorial government again refusing to take any part. 
A State government was elected, consisting of a Governor and other 
officers, and members of the Legislature; but this government, while 
approaching the very extreme of a revolutionary one, stopped short of 
actual interference with the territorial government recognized by the 
Federal administration. The Topeka Constitution was presented to 
Congress, where it formed the subject of heated discussions, but neither 
it nor the government formed under it was recognized. The proslavery 
government, formed as it was according to law, maintained the control. 
Civil war raged. Large companies of armed men were introduced into 
the Territory by both sides, by far the larger part coming from the 
North. A reign of terror was established. 

The presidential election of 1856, resulting in the choice of Mr. 
Buchanan, led to a change of Federal policy in regard to Kansan aifairs. 
In May, 1857, Kobert J. Walker, a prominent statesman from Missis- 
sippi (a Penusylvanian by birth), was appointed Governor of the Terri- 
tory, and it seems was authorized to make some concessions to the anti- 
slavery party. Meanwhile the territorial Legislature had, in turn, called 
a constitutional convention; and a census, preliminary to the election 
therefor, was taken. It was a very defective census, for which fact the 
antislavery party, as is now admitted even by its apologists, was partly 
responsible. The election passed off quietly, less than one-fourth of the 
registered voters taking part in it. The antislavery party permitted it 
to go by default, not appearing at the polls. 

Meanwhile Gov. Walker made certain speeches, in which he spoke of 
the climate of Kansas and its want of adaptation to slave labor; also he 
declared that if the coming constitutional convention should decline to 
submit the proposed new constitution to the people for ratification he 
would oppose its acceptance by Congress, and expressed confidence. that 
the President would do likewise. These speeches were deeply resented 
in the South: first, and mainly, because they were regarded as a viola- 
tion of the principle of nonintervention by the Federal Government; and 
secondly, and more particularly in Mississippi, because they came from 
Mr. Walker, whose political honors had been derived from that State, 


the political interests and rights of which — in common with those of 
her sister Southern States — he was charged with thereby betraying. 

The constitutional convention met at Lecompton; and in November, 
1857, adopted a constitution which provided for the establishment 
of slavery. The convention determined not to Submit it to a popular 
vote for ratification as a whole, but to submit only the article on slavery 
— ballots might be cast for " constitution with slavery," or " constitution 
without slavery." This submission was made on the 21st of December, 
resulting in an almost unanimous vote for the " constitution with slav- 
ery " — the antislavery people again staying away from the polls. 

Meanwhile, in the elections of October, the antislavery party had cap- 
tured the Legislature; and this Legislature, assembling at Lecompton 
on December 7, ordered a further and unreserved submission of the 
constitution to the people on the 4th of January, 1858, providing for a 
ballot "against the constitution formed at Lecompton." At this election 
over ten thousand adverse votes were cast, with less than two hundred 

On the 8th of December, 1857, the President submitted by his an- 
nual message the Kansas affairs to the attention of Congress; and on 
the 2d of February following, by a special message, he transmitted the 
Lecompton constitution to that body, recommending that Kansas be 
speedily admitted to the Union, although the instrument had not been 
fully submitted to the people, and declaring the antislavery party to be 
in rebellion against the government. The debate upon these messages 
was immensely protracted (it fills more than nine hundred pages of the 
Congressional Globe), and resulted in a reference of the constitution 
back to the people, where it was ultimately rejected. It is not uncom- 
mon for writers on these exciting subjects to denounce the effort to pass 
the Lecompton constitution as a monstrous fraud, or in similar terms; 
but there are certain considerations which may cause a dispassionate 
reader to take a more moderate view. Prof. Spring, whose sympathies 
are all against the instrument, yet makes this admission: 

For the constitution there was a single tenable line of defense : that it was the 
work of a legitimate convention which had observed all indispensable formalities. 
The constitution dates back to the first territorial Legislature which submitted to the 
people the question of calling a constitutional convention. Fifteen months afterwards 
— an ample period for mature consideration — they respond favorablj'- at the polls. 
After a lapse of three months the question reaches the second territorial Legislature, 
which " bows to the will of the people and provides for the election of delegates." 
Then between the legislative sanction and the election of delegates four months inter- 
vene. Before the delegates meet and enter upon their duties a further delay of three 
months occurs. They submit a single but vital article of the constitution to the peo- 
ple for acceptance or rejection December 21, and they ratify it almost unanimously.* 

Nor is that all. What opposition there was to the constitution was 

* Kansas (American Common-wenlths), p. 233. 


not expressed at the polls, the only forum in our system for the deter- 
mination of such questions. Persistently, systematically, and with arms 
in hands, the antislavery people had refused to recognize the legal gov- 
ernment, had set up an illegal organization in opposition, barely stop- 
ping short of revolution, and had refused to vote. Could such recusan- 
cy be wisely or lawfully taken to overweigh the will of the people as ex- 
pressed through the ballot cast? To ask the question is to answer it. 
Still again: the constitution was in fact submitted on the only point of 
serious controversy, which was the question of slavery; and had it not 
been submitted on any point whatever, the step would have been no 
novelty in American constitution making.* 

Finally, had the constitution as presented not in fact truly represented 
the wishes of the people, it could at any time have been altered by the 
people, and in very short order. Such a thing as a constitution unalter- 
able is unknown to our system. 

During this Contest a serious breach occurred within the ranks of the 
Democratic party. The Kansas-Nebraska bill declared it to be the 
" true intent and meaning " of the act " not to legislate slavery into any 
Territory or State, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people 
thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions 
in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States." 
This declaration that "the people thereof" should be "perfectly free to 
form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way" con- 
tained an ambiguity which proved fatal to the unity of the party. In 

* Jameson, in his booli " The Constimtionai Convention," enumerates one hundred and eighteen 
conventions, and says: "Ot these, seventy-eight have submitted the Iruit of their labors to the peo- 
ple, and forty have not." Jameson's work, however, is not reliable on this point. Amongst the 
seventy-eight submissions enumerated by him are the following: Ohio, 1802; Missouri, 1820; ilissis- 
sippi, 1817; Mississippi, 1832; Tennessee, 1T96; Alabama, 1819; Arkansas, 1836; Illinois, 1818; Indiana, 
1816; Kentucky, 1792; Louisiana, 1812. During the discussion ot these questions, apropos of the Kan- 
sas constitution, newspapers of that day asserted that none of those constitutions had been referred to 
the people. It is quite certain that the following were not: Missouri, 1820; Mississippi, 1817; Missis- 
sippi, 1832; Alabama, 1819 ; Kentucky, 1792. And Poore, in the compilation of "Constitutions and 
Charters " (a government piiblication), says that those of Ohio, 1802, and Tennessee. 1796, were not. 
On the other hand, Poore is not reliable on that point, either; for he says that the Mississippi con- 
stitutions of 1817 and 1832 were so referred, while it is certain that they were not. Poore and 
Jameson contradict each other in several particulars.— In denouncing the Southern constitutions 
of 1866 with a view to a justification of the reconstiniction laws of Congress adopted in 1867 Mr. 
Blaine, in his work " Twenty Years of Congress" (Vol. II., p. 87), says: They did not even stop to 
submit these changes to the popular vote, but assumed for their own assemblage of oligarchs the full 
power to modify the organic laws of their States— an assumption iviOiout precedent and without 
repetition in the history of State constitvtions in this covhtry^ aticl vtierly subversive of the funda- 
mental idea of republican government.^* In this dogmatical statement Mr. Blaine yhows himself 
to he uninformed about the history of American constitutions. Not only had many of the States 
been admitted into the Union, prior to 1865, on constitutions not submitted, but also " the power to 
modify the organic laws " without reference to the people had been exercised in several instances 
—without considering the ten "secession " constltntions ot 18(Il—in South Carolina, 1777 and 1790; in 
Pennsylvania, 1789; in Del. iware, 1792 and 1831; in Georgia, 1795 and 1798; in Kentucky, 1799; in New 
York, isni; in Mississippi, 1832— one of these instances being in Mr. Blaine's native State.— In Mis- 
sissippi, in fact, there have been six conslitutions and revisions; those ot 1817, 1832, 1861, 1865, 1869, 
and 1890. Only one of them was ever submitted to the people tor ratification, which was that of 
1869, the Reconstruction Constitution dictated by Congress, and the submission of which was a 


connection with it Mr. Douglas, who was the leader of the Northern 
Democrats, and whose course theretofore in connection with the slavei-y 
controversy had placed him high in the good graces of the Southern 
wing of that party, enunciated his doct)-ine of " squatter sovereignty," 
which was, in effect, that such persons as should live in a territory 
could, by their territorial Legislature, and before organization as a 
State, regulate the question of slavery; and, if they saw proper, exclude 
it altogether. But this the Southern party denied. They held that the 
right of any citizen to carry his slave property into the territories of 
the United States was secured to him by the Federal Constitution; that 
even Congress could not deny that right; that the territorial Legisla- 
tures were only instrumentalities or agents of Congress for the provi- 
sional government of the Territories; and that, since an agent's power 
cannot exceed that of the principal, the territorial Legislature might 
not do what Congress could not — in short, that not until the territory 
was clothed with the sovereignty of a State could any citizen's right to 
hold slave property within its limits be denied. This difference of view 
caused Mr. Douglas and those whom he led to refuse to cooperate with 
the remainder of the party in their effort to admit Kansas at once into 
the Union on the Lecompton Constitution; and because of that refusal, 
although the Democrats were in the majority in both Houses, that 
effort failed. By many of the Southern Democrats this course of Mr. 
Douglas was regarded as a betrayal of the party in the interest of his 
presidential aspirations, and he was denounced as worse than a " black 
Republican." It all led to the rupture of 1860 in the party, and the 
consequent election of Mr. Lincoln. 

Another, and a different, episode needs attention here. In the year 
1855, one William Walker, a Tennesseean, recently resident in California, 
left that State at the head of a band of adventurers for Nicaragua, 
which he entered in the character of ally to one of the factions habitu- 
ally disputing the mastery of that country. So long as he acted under 
color of the authority of the chiefs of the faction which he supported 
he generally successful. He captured the city of Grenada, which 
was deemed the stronghold of the adverse faction, and then assumed 
the title of General. Later he took upon himself the title of President 
of Nicaragua (or was chosen to that office, as he claimed), and pro- 
mulgated a decree reestablishing slavery in that country. He aroused 
the jealousy of the natives and weakened himself by various impru- 
dences. Yet he maintained an unequal contest for about two years, suc- 
cumbing at last to a coalition of the Central American States, and sur- 
rendering at Rivas. He returned to this country (or, as he claimed, 
was brought thither against his will), and immediately commenced at 
New Orleans the fitting out of a new military expedition to Nicaragua. 


He was arrested and compelled to give bond to desist from unlawful 
enterprises; but he very soon left New Orleans on a steamboat freighted 
with armed men and military stores, ostensibly for Mobile, but in fact 
for Nicaragua, where he and his followers landed at Punta Arenas on 
November 25, 1857. Here Commodore Paulding, of our navy, com- 
pelled him to surrender with some of his followers, bringing him to 
New York as a prisoner. The President, by a special message to Con- 
gress, January 7, 1858, condemned Walker's expedition, but also con- 
demned the Commodore for violating the sovereignty of a foreign coun- 
try in assuming to make any arrests within it, and declined to hold 
Walker as a prisoner.* This message produced a discussion in Con- 
gress, this expedition and others like it being viewed with great dislike 
in the North as of proslavery tendency. 

We are now prepared to resume the consideration of the attitude of 
Mr. Lamar toward these stirring questions. 

Of course his candidacy for Congress was not free from opposition 
within the party. The objection most strongly urged against him was 
his connection by marriage with Hon. Howell Cobb, a member of Mr. 
Buchanan's cabinet, who was known to have great influence with the 
President. It was remembered that this gentleman, as Speaker of the 
House, had advocated and had materially assisted in the adoption of 
the compromise measures of 1850; and that, when assailed at home 
because of his course, he had afterwards canvassed the State of Georgia 
as a candidate for Governor on the Union ticket, and had been trium- 
phantly elected. Besenting the course of Gov. Walker in Kansas, 
as the State Bights party did, and understanding that the President 
was committed to support him in that course, there was an attitude of 
growing hostility to the administration, albeit a Democratic administra- 
tion. It was thought, or at all events urged, that the kinship of Mr. 
Lamar to Secretary Cobb, and their long friendship, would bring the 
former under the influence of the latter to such an extent as to impair 
his efPectiveness as the champion of the party. 

But this objection, and all others, failed to defeat the movement in 
Mr. Lamar's favor. In the month of June, 1857, there was a meeting 
in Oxford of Democratic citizens of Lafayette County, at which Mr. 
Lamar was present. He submitted resolutions condemnatory of Gov. 
Walker's course, and made a strong speech in their support. The res- 
olutions were adopted, and Mr. Lamar was nominated for the Lower 
House of the State Legislature. 

The Democratic congressional nominating convention met in Holly 
Springs early in July. Before that body were placed the names of Mr. 

*The "Amerienn Conflict; " Greeley, Vol. I., p. 276. Files of Weekly Mississippian lor .Tanuary, 1858. 


Clapp, of Marshall; Mr. Cushmaii, of Lafayette; and Mr. Jackson, of 
Tippah. This brought about a deadlock. All candidates were finally 
dropped, and Mr. Wright, of Tippah, and Mr. Lamar were placed before 
the convention. After the sixtieth ballot of the meeting Mr. Lamar 
was nominated by acclamation. 

The fact that the convention met in Holly Springs was fortunate for 
him. Long afterwards (in 1879) he said in a speech made there: 

The first political speech I ever made which attracted general public attention in 
Mississippi I made here. Near twenty years ago I was nominated as a candidate for 
Congress by a convention assembled here, and I attribute that result largely to the 
manifestation of local attachment by the people here. What I said upon that occa- 
sion has long since passed from my memory, but the kindness and support which I 
then received and have ever since received from you I never can forget. I know 
that public professions are easily made and are counted cheap, but as circumstances 
have prevented me from addressing you of late years you must permit me to depart 
from my usual reserve and to say that there is no community in Mississippi or in the 
country to which I am more attached than to this. I not only esteem and respect it 
for the intelligence, refinement, and public spirit of its citizens; for the enterprise of 
its business men; for the devoted piety and eloquence of its ministers of the gospel-; 
for the ability and honor of its bar, which I consider second to none in the State — 
but I also love this community for ma^y personal reasons. Your city is in my aflec- 
tions consecrated by thronging memories, in which joys and sorrows are strangely 
intermingled. Some of the best and most cherished friendships of my mature man- 
hood were formed here. I have in some way conceived the idea that I am better un- 
derstood and more generously regarded here than anywhere else. I hope it is not 
vanity in me to feel and say this, for it has been and will ever be a consolation to me 
in many a dark hour of depression and gloom. 

Upon Mr. Lamar's nomination he immediately made arrangements 
for a thorough canvass of the district. It was announced thslt Col. 
James L. Alcorn, of Coahoma County, would enter the lists as the can- 
didate of the opposition, composed of Whigs and Know-nothings, and 
arrangements were made for a joint canvass. This canvass excited very 
general interest throughout the State. Mr. Thomas Walton, writing 
from Jackson under date of September 25, said to him: 

Now that I have got at it I must write you what I have heard at Jackson. I only 
heard what convinced me that you have much to do to sustain your reputation. 
Every man was asking about you, every man remarking that Mr. Alcorn, it was said, 
would be most egregiously disappointc d if he expected an easy passage through this 
campaign, for that you were going to prove a more unmanageable characterthan any 
other he could have found in the State. However, they do not set you against Mr. 
Alcorn. They all talk of what you are going to do for the credit of the State when 
you reach Washington. I tell you what, my friend, you have, in plantation parlance, 
a hard row to weed. As German Lester said to rae last evening, you have more rep- 
utation than any other man in the State, considering that you have never been here 
and that it is all built on hearsay. 

The following extract is from a letter written to Mr. Lamar by his 
brother Thompson, of date August 17, and will help to illustrate the 
temper and views of the Southern people at this time: 


I am afraid that if you are elected this time you will not be able to hold your seat 
—that is, if Jeflf writes that which is correct. He says that you will probably assume 
an attitude of hostility to the administration on account of Gov. Walker's position. I 
shall be sorry if it proves to be the case. Opposition to the administration will nec- 
essarily drive you into a sectional party. The Northern Democrats will sustain it 
and will act with those at the South who do. You will be defeated whenever you 
have a national Democrat for a competitor. Although I disapprove of Mr. Walker's 
threats, I must say that I think the convention ought, under the circumstances, to 
submit the constitution it may form to a vote of ratification. Whom tlie administra- 
tion thinks should be entitled to vote on the adoption of the constitution will appear 
from the inclosed slip, cut from the Washinglon Union. No fair man, I think, should 
object to the views there set forth. It is idle to say that Mr. Walker can effect any- 
thing either for or against the establishment of slavery in Kansas. That question 
was settled against us long before Mr. Walker went to that Territory— not by the 
a,ction of any government official, but by the immense influx of Northern immi- 
grants. All reliable accounts agree in stating that the proslavery party are vastly in 
the minority in Kansas. I would prefer that her people should at once adopt a free- 
state constitution, rather than that the free-soilers should stand aloof and permit a 
constitution recognizing slavery to be formed and then in. a few years abolish it. I 
consider it a foregone conclu.sion that a vast majority in Kansas are against us, and 
can settle the matter when they choose to act in conformity to law. My confidence 
in the. Northern Democracy and Mr. Buchanan continues unabated. The entire 
unanimity with which the former have approved and defended the decision of the 
Supreme Court in the Died Scott case, with their avowals of willingness to admit 
other slave States into the Union, seems to me sufficient to satisfy the most exacting. 
There is one view of the case which alone would prevent me from denouncing Mr. 
Buchanan for not removing Walker. The latter proposed that all the inhabitants of 
Kansas should vote upon the adoption of the constitution under which they are to be 
governed. I myself think the convention should provide for that, since not more 
than a third of the voters are represented by delegates. But Walker goes farther: he 
threatens a rejection by Congress of the application for admission as a State, and his 
own individual opposition if his views are not adopted. The latter I consider his 
offense. Not the course he dictates, but the dictation. Now, if he were removed 
from office, it would be almost impossible to get the Northern mind to perceive the 
distinction. The opponents of Democracy would urge, with a good deal of plausibil- 
ity, that Mr. Walker was removed for advocating the claims of each and all of the 
citizens of Kansas to take part in forming the government under which they were to 
live, for endeavoring to carry out in good faith the principle of the Kansas-Nebraska 
bill. Their denunciation of the South for a breach of faith in this case would have a 
far greater effect than when hurled at her for violating the Missouri Compromise. 
My convictions are fixed and unwavering that if Mr. Walker be removed and Kansas 
be admitted as a slave State, without submitting the constitution to a vote of the 
people, in 1861 a black Republican President and Congress will be installed in office. 
For the foregoing reasons I can see cause why the President can retain Walker in 
oflBce without being a " traitor to the South." But enough of politics. 

Mr. Lamar was elected, and repaired to "Washington about the 1st of 
December, 1857, to take his seat in the Thirty-fifth Congress. On his 
arrival he found, of course, that the Nicaraguan expedition and the 
Kansas question were creating great excitement and discussion. Hav- 
ing been admitted to his seat, he made his first speech in Congress on 


the 13tli of January, 1858. In it he dealt with both of the questions of 
the day, and the speech is given in full in the "Appendix " as No. 1. It 
will be observed that he touched but lightly on the Nicaraguan ques- 
tion. In his opinion it seems to have been of small importance. 

Mr. Lamar's speech was most enthusiastically received, both in the 
Congress and at the South. It gave him at once prominence in the 
House, and secured even from those opposed to him a recognition for 
eloquence, " impetuous, scholarly, and defiant." It gave him great pres- 
tige in Mississippi. 

About this time Mr. B. S. Rozell, a prominent citizen of his district, 
addressed to Mr. Lamar a letter in which, amongst other things, he 
urged the necessity for taking immediate action for the protection of 
Southern interests in case the Congress should refuse to accept the Le- 
compton constitution. The following is Mr. Lamar's reply: 

Washington, D. C, March 8, ]858. 

My Dear Sir: Your letter of the 20th ult. came duly to hand. It sets forth in an 
exceedingly able manner views which every true Southern man should be proud to 

With regard to my own course I can readily make it clear to you, as I would have 
done to all the voters of your locality could I have had an opportunity of addressing 
them last autumn. 

I have never been one of those who run ahead of the issue, who create evils in or- 
der that they may destroy them. I have preferred always a peaceable settlement of 
political questions. But I hold to the old motto: "In peace prepare for war." I can 
see too plainly the clouds that are hanging over us. I can hear and interpret too well 
the mutterings of an approaching storm. I have measured the extent of that danger 
which we must, sooner or later, look resistently in the face. 

I Ijelieve with you, and with what I trust will soon be the unanimous South, that 
the refusal of Congress to admit any Territory into this Union merely because that 
Territory should present a proslavery constitution would be at once and forever an ab- 
rogation of political equality. Should that time come, I may deprecate, but would not 
prevent, the fearful consequences. Dissolution cannot take place quietly ; the vast and 
complicated machinery of this government cannot be divided without general tumult 
and, it may be, ruin. When the sun of the Union sets it will go down in blood. 
Should we not, then, have our camp prepared, our leaders chosen, our ranks marshaled, 
and our sentinels at their posts ? 

If I act with caution in this matter, it is because I am in earnest. If I am slow in 
deliberation, it is because I shall be rapid in action. 

I believe and hope, however, that we will pass the Lecompton constitution. The 
administration is acting in good faith ; and, unless the Southern Know-nothings in 
Congress should take the responsibility of deserting their section, we may be able to 
avert the threatened evil for the present. 

To the ambition of New England we may trace the rise of this whole abolition move- 
ment. She was the great manufacturing agent of the country ; she saw in the South the 
great producing agent. She sought to reverse the law of nature, and make produce the 
slave of manufactures. In the " alien and sedition laws," and the spirit of the Hartford 
Convention, we see the first declaration of inequality between persons and classes. 
From this position the step was easy to an inequality between communities and States. 


Should the South ever submit to one invasion of her rights, the white line might be 
distinctly drawn around her, and a servile government constituted to rule, not protect, 
her. Such was the dream of Puritanism— New England the nation, the other States 
her colonies. 

What has she left undone in pursuance of this scheme? She has scattered gold 
like water. Her abolitionists have gone into the churches, creating feuds and schisms 
in the hearts of pious men, and upon the altar of the most high God they have poured 
forth their blasphemies against the South. They have laid their filthy hands upon 
poetry and romance, and their literature comes to us teeniing with insult and infec- 
tion. Is it not time to whip into submission these wolves that have banded together 
for the destruction of nobler things? 

The Keitt-Grow fight, which caused a great deal of comment and 
some ill feeling, occurred at this session, on the night of February 5-6, 
about one o'clock. 

The House of Eepresentatives was in a furious struggle as to whether 
the President's message on the Lecompton constitution should be re- 
ferred to the Democratic Committee on Territories or to a select commit- 
tee of fifteen. It was an all-night session. Congressmen lay asleep on 
sofas while a few prolonged the debate. Sometime before two o'clock 
in the morning Mr. Grow, a Republican member from Pennsylvania, 
whom Mr. Cox characterizes as "saucy in bravado toward his oppo- 
nents" * had gone over to the desk of Mr. Cox, on the Democratic side. 
While there, Mr. Quitman, of Mississippi, requested permission of the 
House to make some explanation. Mr. Grow objected. This angered 
Mr. Keitt, of South Carolina, whom also Mr. Cox describes as addicted 
to " swaggering bravado," and he asked Mr. Grow why he didn't go 
over to his own side of the house if he wanted to object. Of what fol- 
lowed a correspondent of the New Orleans Picayune gave this rather 
amusing account: 

Mr. Grow replied that it was a free hall, and that he would object from any point 
in it which he pleased. The parties exchanged angry words — Keitt calling Grow a 
black Republican puppy, and the latter retorting that he would not allow any nigger 
driver to crack whips around his ears. 

This is the substance of the phrases as related by parties who were near. Mr. 
Keitt caught Grow by the throat, but they were separated by Mr. Reuben Davis, of 
Mississippi, who had followed Keitt for the purpose of restraining him and keeping 
the peace. Immediately afterwards, however, he broke loose and again seized Mr. 
Grow, when the latter (as he himself says) struck him a severe blow, which felled him 
to the floor. Mr. Keitt denied that he fell from the effects of a blow, but asserts that 
he stumbled. By this time quite a number ot gentlemen (among wfiom were Barks- 
dale of Mississippi, Craig of North Carolina, and others) rushed forward, some 
probably for the purpose of getting a better sight of " the ring," and others to separate 
the contestants. This all occurred on the Democratic side of the chamber; but when 
the Republicans saw so many rushing toward Grow they thought he was to be badly 
handled, and quick as thought started en masse for the scene of conflict. Potter, of 
Wisconsin, a stout fellow with a fist like an ox, was foremost, and bounded into the 

* " Thiee Decartes of Federal Legislation," S. S. Cox, pp. 74-76. 


fray like a maddened tiger. Just then Barksdale had hold of Grow, with a view of 
leading him out of the meUe. Potter, mistaking his purpose, planted a " sockdola- 
ger " between Barksdale's eyes, which only had the effect of rousing his grit. Looking 
around, the first man he saw was Elihu Washburne, of Illinois. Supposing it was he 
who struck him, Barksdale sprang gallantly at him, and they exchanged a handsome 
little match in less than no time. Potter meantime was striking right and left at 
Barksdale or anybody else. Cadwalader Washburn also came to the rescue of his 
brother and attacked Barksdale, who defended himself with coolness, vigor, and skill 
saving his face from bruise or scratch. 

It was a jolly row, and no bones broken. The Speaker cried in vain for order. 
The Sergeant at Arms made arrests, but the fight was over, and the choler exploded in a 
broad gufla w in a very short time as soon as the ludicrous points in the affair presented 
themselves. It was evident that nobody, unless Keitt, intended to fight in the begin- 
ning ; but even Lamar, of Mississippi, and Parson Owen Lovejoy had a little set-to in the 
course of the passing gust. [" They probably fought for ten minutes," says another cor- 
respondent, " neither gaining any particular advantage, and both getting pretty well 
pounded."] Bocock, of Virginia, was threatened with a knockdown by Montgomery, 
of Pennsylvania, whom he proposed to restrain from taking part in the row. John 
Oovode seized a gigantic spittoon of stoneware with which to brain somebody, but 
fortunately happened to see no one at the instant who seemed to deserve braining, 
and so a homicide was doubtless avoided. McQueen, of South Carolina, was some- 
where in the ring, for he looked not a little troubled when the affair was over; and 
Barksdale — than whom no man had a bigger or better share of the fun — came out 
right side up, but with his wig wrong side front. It was pleasant to witness the good 
nature of all parties after the fight was over. Nobody was hurt much, and they had 
nothing to do but apologize. Gentlemen who got acquainted for the first time in the 
midst of the "shindy'' shook hands over the mutual assurance that they went into 
the fight only to prevent a fight, and in half an hour the house was quieter than ever. 

Mr. Cox, however, seems to have regarded this " shindy " with a more 
serious eye than did the correspondent of the Picayune. He says of it: 

The passions of the time are incarnate in that Congress and at that hour. See the 
fierce clutch and glaring eye, and the struggle between those heady champions ! Now, 
after nearly three decades, the author sees trooping down the aisle of memory, as then 
there came trooping down the aisle of the house, the belligerent members, with Wash- 
burne, of Illinois, and Potter, of Wisconsin, leading the one extreme', and Barksdale 
and Lamar, of Mississippi, leading the other ; then comes the meUe — the struggle, the 
pale face of the Speaker calling to order, the Sergeant at Arms rushing into the area 
before the clerk's desk, with the mace as his symbol of authority. Its silver eagle 
moves up and down on the wave of passion and confiict. Then there is a dead hush 
of the hot heart, and the glare of defiance across the hall ! As this scene is revivified, 
looking at it through the red storm of the war, there is epitomized all that has made 
that war bloody and desperate. 

The reader who shall remember that this scene is an almost exact re- 
production of a similar occurrence in the British House of Commons 
only two or three years ago may comfort himself with the hope that, 
after all, the passions which brought it about were not so violent or im- 
placable as they seemed to Mr. Cox, and that the Pica^/Mwe's designation 
of it as a " shindy " was nearer to the truth. 

It must not be imagined that because Mr, Lamar took part in this 
combat he was one of the bullies of the House, or was so regarded. 


It may be noted that the correspondent says "even Lamar" had a set-to. 
The suggestion of that expression is carried out by a notice in the 
North Americmi, of Philadelphia, of date January 25, 1893, in which Mr. 
Lamar's humor and bearing as a member of Congress at that period 
were described: 

As a member of the House prior to the Civil War he won considerable notice as a 
conservative Southern man, eloquent in debate, and a power when fiiUy aroused. But 
his indolence gave him the appearance of sluggishness to a casual looker-on. He was 
not sluggish, however. He was always on the alert and fully cognizant of the stirring 
scenes almost daily enacted in the House. Much of the wrangling disgusted him as 
puerile and without object. He was a peacemaker oftener than a peacebreaker. As 
jealous of the rights and claims of the South as other and more boisterous members, 
his methods were free from much that rendered the more fiery representatives of the 
oligarchy offensive both as respected manners and language. 

Mr. Lamar took a prominent part in the Vallandigham-Campbell con- 
test over the seat in the House as member from the Third District of Ohio. 
The question turned mainly upon the reception of negro votes. Mr. 
Vallandigham unseated Mr. Campbell after a long contest. Mr. La- 
mar was a member of the Committee on Elections, and strongly ad- 
vocated the claim of the contestant. His speech, made May 22, was a 
very effective one; but being upon questions local and now wholly ob- 
solete and almost purely legal in character, it is not given. He wrote 
to his wife that " the papers from Ohio come loaded with complimen- 
tary notices of my speech." 

Mr. Lamar was not particularly pleased with life in Washington. 
Under date of May 4, he writes his mother-in-law, Mrs. Longstreet: 

Washington is now a most beautiful place, and the Capitol Hill is the most splen- 
did and picturesque scene my eye ever rested upon. But I am ready and willinfi to 
leave the city forever. The center of all my enjoyments is the home wherein are my 
wife and children, and I have no wish to wander out from that home in pursuit of 
any pleasures that the world presents. 

To his wife, at the same time, he wrote: 

I have not yet made up my mind what to do about running a second time. Your 
pa's views will have great weight with me, but he is mistaken about the importance 
of men of talent here from the South. They can do but little good for their section 
in Congress. 

So deeply was he impressed with the ideas expressed in those ex- 
tracts that he was in active correspondence with the authorities of the 
University of Mississippi for appointment to the chair of Mental and 
Moral Philosophy. He had obtained indorsements from Mr. Cox, Hon. 
Jacob Thompson, Senator A. G. Brown, and others, all of which were of 
the most flattering nature. The movement, however, was energetically 
protested against by many influential friends, on the ground that his 


work was more important in the field of politics. The following extract 
from a letter from Dr. F. A. P. Barnard, then Chancellor of the uni- 
versity, shows the line of argument used on this point, as well as other 
matter of interest: 

University of Mississippi, March 25, 1858. 

My Dear Friend: Your letter of the 15th, received yesterday, aiForded me un- 
mingled gratification. I had been led, by outgivings of your friends, to believe that 
you would not persevere in your choice to leave the more conspicuous position in which 
you are placed for our dull obscurity; and while I felt that the change of your previ- 
ously understood purpose would be, to myself personally, a severe misfortune, and to 
the University of Mississippi no slight calamity, yet I could not find it in my con- 
science to disapprove the determination to which, as I understood the matter, you 
were likely to come. I have said to you before, and I say to you again, that I believe 
the country has need of such men as you in precisely such positions as that which 
you hold, and those to which, in the course of time, I should expect to see you ad- 
vanced. In saying this I do not mean to allude to any sectional questions between the 
North and the South; nor do I mean to say merely that you are needed as a cham- 
pion of Southern rights. As Mr. Seward says, the battle is substantially over — or, if it 
is not over as a fight, it is over as a struggle for mastery. The strength is in the hands 
of our opponents. What becomes of the Kansas question is really a matter of little 
moment. It would be of little moment, even if the question were not incumbered 
with complications which must render its decision either way meaningless. It would 
be of little moment if presented in the simplest form possible, for it could not pre- 
vent that numerical preponderance of the North, which is now incontestable, and 
which will leave it entirely in the power of Northern men to say how Southern rights 
shall be regarded. Suppose, then, that by the use of all those appliances by which power 
and party tactics often control a doubtful decision in a nearly balanced House, sup- 
pose that in this way the victory in this exciting contest should be secured to the 
South, what would it be, and what cculd it be, but a barren victory? The result 
would be either a just exponent of the views and intentions of the Northern ma- 
jority, or it would not be. If it would not be, what benefit are we to reap from it? 
If it would be, why is it only to be won by such desperate expedients? 

Mr. Seward is right. There has been of late years a disposition in our Federal Gov- 
ernment to favor the equality of the South, under the constitution, with her restless 
sister of the North. It has not been successful. Its last remnant of conservative 
power in reference to this matter is, at this moment, undergoing the process for which 
Mr. Gushing invented the felicitous expression, " to be crushed out." Henceforth, the 
constitution is only to be a constitution if the North so please. 

Therefore (to bring this digression to a conclusion), I do not mean to say that the 
South has special need .of you in Washington to fight for the South. I do not know 
that there will be, for many years longer, a common Washington for the South and 
North. The future is all dark before me, and the spirit of prophecy fails. But the 
thing which I do know is that, whatever becomes of our present political organiza- 
tion, whatever fate may befall a Union which has been from my earliest consciousness 
so dear to me that I could not feel that a country would remain to me without it, it is 
a social necessity that we should have a government; and it is a matter of the deep- 
est interest to us all that our government should be in able and honest hands. Now, 
sincerity, singleness, and honesty of purpose, patriotism unqualified by selfishness, 
and integrity superior to all temptation, are qualities not so abundant among men in 
political life as to reduce them to the grade of common and everyday virtues. What 
if it is true that every man, politician or not, but epecially every politician, should be 
sincere and honest and patriotic and incorruptible? How many are there, after all. 


in any walk of life in this world, who are what they ought to be; who are not guilty 
of doing many things which they ought not to have done, and leaving many things 
undone which they ought to have done? And how often must the two or three right- 
minded men in the National Legislature (if there be so many there) have felt disposed, 
in the midst of the intrigue and the corruption and the misrepresentation and distortion 
of the truth constantly going on around them, to follow up the confession, and say: 
"There is no health in us! " Now while I believe that, among the admirers of your 
genius and intellectual strength, no one of all your friends can take precedence of me, 
it is not so much that the country might profit by your talents, as that it might reap 
the benefit of your inflexible rectitude of purpose, that I should delight to see you 
permanently devoted to public life. Yet, at the same time, I must confess that with- 
out the talents the honesty would be of comparatively little avail ; since it is of small 
moment to the world that a humble individual is virtuous in a quiet corner by him- 
self; and if he would make his virtue of public value, he must have power (and what 
power like that of intellect?) to compel others to be vii'tuous also. I confess again 
that there are hard cases enough, in Congress and out, whom no compulsion could 
make virtuous — hard-shelled sinners, through whose impervious exterior no moral 
hydraulic press could be found of power enough to force the feeblest infusion of 
righteousness — but even such can be obliged to pay to moral principle the ordinary, 
though reluctant, homage of hypocrisy, and to " assume a virtue if they have it not." 

In short, it is my opinion that what the country wants at present, most of all, is men 
of genuine, unselfish patriotism, of spotless probity and unbending integrity of prin- 
ciple ; and one such man, at least, I have believed that she has found in you. Your 
entrance into public life, therefore, I viewed with great gratification; and your retire- 
ment from it 1 cannot observe without some emotions of regret. Do not, however, for 
one moment believe that I do not, for my own sake and that of the university, most 
heartily rejoice that a decision to which I did not feel it right urgently to press you has 
been arrived at by yourself, in the exercise of your own independent judgment. Since 
you want to come, you cannot but know that all of us here want to have you; and 
chiefest of all, myself. I look forward with delight to the pleasant hours of social 
and intellectual enjoyment which I am sure are before us; and I hail with the highest 
satisfaction the accession of strength which your election will bring us, in the effort to 
build this university up into the great university of the Southwest. 

In regard to the event, you perceive that I speak of it as a thing settled. Testimo- 
nials were not in the least needed in your case. I could count on my fingers the votes 
that would elect you the day it should only be known that you were a candidate for 
election. The men whom I count are men who have, in my eyes, the double merit of 
being sure to vote for you if here, and of being sure to be here to vote for you. Three 
of these votes will be given with an ill grace, because they will be given by your con- 

The project discussed in Dr. Barnard's letter came to nothing for the 
time being. Mr. Lamar remained in political life. The press of the 
State was very complimentary to him. On the 3d of November, noti- 
cing his presence in Jackson, the Weekly Mississippi State Gazette said 
that " the whole State has vcitnessed with pride the successful Congres- 
sional debut of this rising young statesman, and a general desire is ex- 
pressed to hear his views upon the important topics of the day." This 
notice followed upon an invitation by the Legislature, "irrespective of 
party," that he should address them; and this he did on the evening of 
the 3d. He was introduced to a large and brilliant audience by Chief 


Justice C. P. Smith. Tlie Gazette reported his speech, in short, with the 
following notice: 

We have given but a hurried and imperfect synopsis of his speech, which, in all its 
parts, we have never heard excelled in earnestness of eloquence, richness of diction, 
brilliant antithesis, and all the elements which make up a powerful production, from 
a mind "rich with the spoils of time." Well may the First District, "the mighty 
North," feel proud of her gallant young representative. 

The address, as reported, will be found in the Appendix.* 

At the short session of the Thirty-fifth Congress, on the 17th of Janu- 
ary, 1859, Mr. Lamar delivered an address in memory of Hon. T. 
L. Harris, member from the Sixth Congressional District of Illinois, 
lately deceased. This address, also, was received with the most fl.atter- 
ing commendations. It was spoken of commonly as " the speech of the 
day," "universally pronounced one of the finest obituary addresses ever 
delivered on the floor." ^ 

Following closely upon this address was his tariff speech, of Febru- 
ary 21, in opposition to a proposition made by Mr. Stanton, of Ohio, to 
meet a threatened deficit in the treasury by so changing the existing 
tariff law as to impose specific duties (as distinguished from ad valorem 
duties) "with discriminations for the protection of certain classes of 
American industries." 

These speeches are not presented to the. reader, for the reason that 
the lapse of time and the changes of condition have deprived that on 
the tariff of the interest and importance which it then possessed, while 
the eulogy is surpassed in beauty and interest by later productions; 
and because, further, the space is needed for other discourses of wider 
and more permanent importance. The curious reader may easily find 
them in the Congressional Globe of the proper date. 

* See Appendix, No. 2. 


Thirty-sixth Congress ; Reelected— Speech at Jackson— Speech on Election of Speaker 
—Letter to Barnard— Speech on Southern Slavery— Charleston Convention— Letter 
to Mott— Baltimore Convention— Accepts Professorship in University— Speech at 

IN June, 1859, Mr. Lamar was unanimously renominated as the Dem- 
ocratic candidate for Congress, arid, after an active canvass of the 
district, was reelected in October, without any opposition candidate ap- 
pearing in the field. 

On the 11th of November following he delivered, at the request of 
the Legislature, then in session, an elaborate address before that body 
on the subject of the State's federal relations. Of this address, the 
Vickshurg Whig, a paper devoted to the interests of the opposing party, 
and one of the ablest in the State, said this: 

For two hours he held his audience, if not spell-bound, at least most agreeably en- 
tertained. Col. Lamar has many of the external graces and qualities that characterize 
the orator ; but besides and beyond these he possesses a rich fountain of thought, ready 
at his will to be poured out in a stream of choicest words, adorned with the happiest 
figures. . . . The ablest speech, as we have heard stated on all hands, delivered in 
that hall for years, in defense of Democratic men and Democratic principles. . . . 
Mr. Lamar believed in the manifest destiny of this republic. Territorial expansion 
is, with him, proof of a prosperous nation ; he favored the acquisition of Mexico, Cen- 
tral America, and the Antilles. He is, however, not a filibuster; all that is wrong. He 
sustains the neutrality laws, and demands their enforcement. He pointed out our 
condition in the Union as pitiful enough. Powerless, oppressed, trampled on, threat- 
ened, doomed, no hope around, no hope ahead. But Col. Lamar is not a disunionist 
per se. . . . 

When Congress convened there was a protracted and bitter struggle 
over the election of the Speaker. The Eepublicans had placed in nom- 
ination Mr. Sherman, of Ohio, and this nomination precipitated the de- 

One Helper, of Missouri, had published a book called "The Impend- 
ing Crisis," which was very notorious in its day, and was a great offense 
to the Southern people and their sympathizers. It dealt with the slav- 
ery question, and, amongst other things, advised the slaves to rise and 
obtain their freedom by forcible means, if they could not do so peaceably. 
A circular had been issued, recommending the book; and that circular 
had been signed by sixty-five members of the Congress, amongst others 
by Mr. Sherman. His nomination for the speakership was, therefore, a 
firebrand thrown into the House. 

On the 6th of December Mr. Sherman made a speech to the effect 
that, although his name was signed to the circulai', he did not remember 


that be had signed it; that he certainly had never read the book; that 
he did not intend to come in conflict with any rights of Southern citi- 
zens, etc. 

Many speeches were made; amongst them one by Mr. Lamar, on the 
7th, which was delivered on the impulse of the moment and without 
any preparation, but also "with electrical effect."* 

Especial attention is called to that portion of his speech in which he 
speaks of his attitude toward the question of secession, saying: "For 
one, I am no disunionist per se. I am devoted to the constitution of 
this Union, and as long as this republic is a great tolerant republic, 
throwing its loving arms around both sections of the country, I, for one, 
will bestow every talent which God has given me for its promotion and 
its glory." It was at this time, too, that he wrote to Dr. Barnard thus: 

The sectional war rages with unabated violence. No one started out with more of 
honest indignation than I felt. But I begin to hope that there exists a mutual misunder- 
standing between the two sections, brought about by ultra party leaders and deluded 
fanatics. I think I can see, through all the rancor and madness of this strup-gle, the 
slow evolution of right principles. What is now the greatest need is some one man, 
one true man, who will present the whole controversy in its true light — who, rising 
above the passions and prejudices of the times, will speak to both sections in a spirit 
at once tolerant, just, generous, humane, and national. No one has shown himself to 
be that man yet. I think I know one (a friend of yours and mine) who might do it. 
I think he has clear perceptions of his duty, high and noble sentiment, and a heart big 
with pure and holy affection for his whole country ; but his love for repose, shrinking 
from the uproar and confusion of party strife, will, I fear, cause him to be, what he has. 
always been, wanting in the energy and courage to execute what his reason designs, 
his conscience approves, or his duty dictates. 

On the 21st of February, 1860, the House being in committee of the 
whole on the state of the Union, and having under consideration the 
President's annual message, Mr. Lamar delivered his reply to Mr. Fer- 
ry, of Connecticut, who had spoken on the never-ending subject of 
Southern slavery .f Mr. Lamar's speech treated slavery per se, in its 
divine and sociological aspects; Southern slavery specifically, from the 
legal, social, and humanitarian points of view; and the Southern planter 
and Southern nonslaveholders as men and as classes. It was warmly 
received at the South, and greatly added to his reputation and popular- 
ity in that region; nor did it go without a flattering and apparently ap- 
preciative recognition in the North. 

Under date of March 15 he writes to Judge Longstreet, then Presi- 
dent of South Carolina College, thus: 

My position here is a far higher one than I ever expected to attain. The praises 
which I receive are ao extravagant that I sometimes fear it is flattery. The President 
has sent for me two or three times to consult with me upon his message which he 
contemplates sending in. He told me not to mention it, as there are men who would 
resent his not consulting with them. 

*See A|ipcniUx, No. 3. +See Appendix, No. i. 


I do assure you, though, that your opinion of my speech, and your gratification at 
my success, is the richest and dearest reward of my public life. You never have 
known how deeply your approval of anything I do sinks into my heart and sweetens 
my life. I have hardly a hope or a fear that does not connect itself with you. No son 
ever loved a father more, and no one (except your wife) ever loved, honored, and 
tried to obey you more faithfully. 

We have now reached that fateful period, when the passions which 
had been gathering and intensifying for so long a time disrupted all 
previous af&liations — when, especially, the Democratic party, which for 
sixty years had borne .on the nation to a heiglit of prosperity and glory 
not dreamed of by its founders, was rent in twain, and, through its ruin, 
the nation was hurled into the incarnadine sea of a civil war. 

The Democratic convention assembled in Charleston, S. C, on the 
23d of April, 1860, for the purpose of nominating the party candidates 
for the Presidency and Vice Presidency. It was the first occasion on 
which the Northern and the Southern wings of the party had met in con- 
vention since the celebrated " defection " of Mr. Douglas on the Kansas 
controversy. No great political sagacity was needed to see that the 
convention, notwithstanding that many Southern Democrats still be- 
lieved in Mr. Douglas as a stanch party man, would be divided into 
two great factions: those who favored the presidential candidacy of Mr. 
Douglas, and those who opposed it. Accordingly, upon the organization 
of that body a resolution was introduced for the purpose of declaring 
the most important item, or " plank," of the proposed platform, relating 
to slavery in the Territories. It was as follows: 

That the government of a Territory organized by an act of Congress is provisional 
and temporary ; and during its existence all citizens of the United States have an 
equal right to settle with all their property in the Territory without their rights, 
either of person or property, being destroyed or impaired by Congressional or territo- 
rial legislation. 

The only particular in which this resolution substantially differed 
from the platfom of 1856 consisted in the introduction of the conclud- 
ing words, " or territorial legislation." The object of this addition was 
manifestly to exclude the " squatter sovereignty " doctrine of Mr. Doug- 
las, and to conform the platform expressly to the views of those who 
held that only sovereign States could prohibit the introduction of slaves 
within their limits. Of course an eager and rancorous contest followed. 
The resolution was rejected; whereupon quite a number of the dele- 
gates withdrew from the convention, and, after organizing themselves 
into a separate body, called another convention to meet at Richmond, 
Va., on the second Monday of June. The remaining delegates of the 
Charleston Convention then, without transacting any further business, 
adjourned to meet again on the 18th of June, in the city of Baltimore, 
requesting the several States to supply the vacancies caused by the 
withdrawal of their delegates. 


It may readily be imagined that these proceedings caused a great ex- 
citement in all the States. Throughout those States, particularly, whose 
delegates had withdrawn, in whole or in part, there was agitation for 
meetings of the " National Old Line Democrats," favorable to the contin- 
uance of the " Union Democracy," in order to send delegates to the 
Baltimore Convention. In Mississippi, immediately after the rupture, 
Mr. Davis (who was regarded as a Presidential possibility) and others 
issued an Address to the Public, advising that the bolting delegates 
return to the Baltimore Convention. 

Mr. Lamar was a member of the Charleston Convention, and made a 
speech there, which was commonly pronounced one of the best of the 
occasion. Although more conservative in his views than the extremists, 
he still withdrew with them. The following letter, written to C. H. Mott, 
Esq. (his partner), under the date of May 29, 1860, will cast a light upon 
his own motives and position, and on the general situation as he then 
regarded it : 

You will have seen ere this that I signed with Jeff Davis the address which advises 
the return of the delegates to Baltimore. Davis had signed it, and I was determined 
that his name should not go unsupported by any of the delegation. It was in obedi- 
ence to his wish that I went to Charleston. He wrote to Barry,* telling him that I 
was fully possessed of his views. He did not wish the Southern delegates to secede 
on the platform, because he knew that we could achieve a more solid and enduring 
triumph by remaining in and defeating Douglas. I urged his views to the delegates, 
and insisted that if they could get a living, practical representative of our principle it 
would be better than to go out upon a mere verbal symbol. But there was no hold- 
ing back such men as Gen. Clark, Thompson, Mathews, and Judge Gholson. They 
forced Alabama to stand to their instructions, and then stood by her. 

Their position (whatever may have been the policy of it) is certainly based upon 
high grounds, and was prompted by the purest devotion to the rights of the South. 
It deserves the indorsement and approval of the people of Mississippi. I have linked 
my future with it, for weal or for woe. I do not know that their course was not even 
the best policy. To divide the South is a most deplorable result just at this time, but 
the Northern men give us, no other alternative. 

That Northern wing is rife with the elements of bitter sectionalism ; and if we yield 
to their mandate, all is lost. If the South would only unite, she could secure all her 
rights; but there is so little of unity — so much of discord, jealousies, and distrust — 
between the most patriotic of our men, that I am oppressed with emotions of the 
profoundest and most hopeless sadness. I endured, in beholding its exhibition at 
Charleston (and that, too, in the face of a compact and hostile sectional organization), 
a mental torture that allowed me no relief except the thought that it could not be 
otherwise. O, will the noble spirits of the South become, ever a band of brothers, 
before the chain of the oppressors unites them ? 

Mr. Lamar, notwithstanding the tone of his letter to Mott, was not, 
apparently, without serious misgivings as to the policy of the action of 
the Southern delegates at the Charleston Convention. The following 

*Hon. W^illiam S. Barry, a member of the convention, formerly a member of Congress and 
Speaker of the Honse in the Mississippi Legislature, afterwards President of the Secession Con- 
vention, etc. 


extract is from a letter of Mr. Justice John A. Campbell, of date June 
12, in reply to a letter of Mr. Lamar's on this subject : 

I received your penitential letter of the 7th inst. yesterday. If I had the powers of 
a Turkish cadi, I should condemn all the Southern actors in that scene to wear veils 
for four years. Their faces should not be seen among Democrats. I am not sure but 
what my sentence would comprise certain bastinadoes for all those from whom some- 
thing better should have come. In that case, you and your friends. Cable and Jack- 
son, would have carried sore feet for a lone time. 

The convention which had beea called to meet iu Kichmond was post- 
poned, and appointed to meet in Baltimore at the same time with the 
regular organization. Upon the assembling of the two conventions, an- 
other withdrawal took place from the regular organization, led by Mr. 
Caleb Gushing and Mr. Benjamin F. Batler, of Massachusetts ; and 
these members joined the new organization. The rupture of the party 
was complete. Each convention made its nominations — one declaring 
for Mr. Douglas, and the other for John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky. 
It would seem a singular coincidence that the candidate of the new con- 
vention should be taken from the great State whose motto was: " United 
we stand, divided we fall." Did any think of it, and read in it a warning? 

While all this was going on Mr. Lamar was preparing to abandon 
practical politics altogether. It has been shown that he had always a 
longing for the quiet of a domestic life, and that he deemed the times 
unfavorable for any good results to the South by continuing in Congress. 
So it was that when the trustees of the University of Mississippi, iu the 
latter part of June, offered him the chair of Ethics and Metaphysics, he 
accepted it. The election was announced in the Oxford Intelligencer iu 
these terms : 

Hon. L. Q. C. Lamar, of this county, who takes the chair of Ethics and Metaphys- 
ics, is too well and widely and favorably known, abroad as well as at home, to justify 
us in pronouncing upon him the eulogium he deserves. It is agreed on all hands that 
he possesses a peculiar fitness for his chair. . . . Prof. Lamar will serve out his full term 
as a member of Congress, but this will involve his absence from the university only 
for the period of three months during the next session. 

The Vicksburg Whig, the leading opposition paper in the State, said 

We see it stated that Col. Lamar intends resigning his seat in Congress, to accept a 
position in theUniversity of Mississippi. We sincerely trust that this report is not true. 
... In our judgment Mr. Lamar is tlie ablest man in either branch of Congress from this 
State, and far ahead of the generality of Congressmen from the Southwest. There is 
hardly a question of governmental policy on which we do not differ materially with 
him ; but, if his side is to have the Congressmen, we at least feel a sort of state pride 
that such a man as L. Q. C. Lamar is made the recipient of the honors of his party. 

But, although " Prof." Lamar had decided to retire to the academic 
shades, it was not his intention to abandon the ship during the gale. 
He took an active part in the Presidential campaign, speaking with 
great effect at numerous places. Col. Young, of Waverly, one of the 


typical Soutlierii gentlemen of the old school, who embodied all of their 
charms without any of the blemishes sometimes found in them, wrote 
to Judge Longstreet October 26 : 

We have just had the largest mass meeting in Columbus ever known in this State. 
Davis spoke in the forenoon. Pettus was to follow in the afternoon, but the country 
people were so importunate for Lamar that he was forced up immediately after din- 
ner. . . . The universal opinion was that it was the moat statesmanlike speech 
which had been heard. 

Pettus spoke at night ; then Barksdale, of Jackson. And yet, when so late, the cry 
burst forth for Lamar ; and for one hour and thirty minutes he transported his audi- 
ence, and covered himself all over with glory. The Bell men followed and serenaded 
him. His appeal to them subdued all hearts, and made patriots of partisans. . . . 
Saturday we take him to Aberdeen, to speak there. They sent up for him to go to 
Mobile. . . . Lamar is carried away with Columbus, where he was feasted and 
lionized not a little. 


Election of Lincoln— Conference of Gongressmen— Speec^i at Brandon— Legislature 
of 1860— Resigns Seat in Congress— Liddell Letter— Member of Seceseion Con- 
vention— Pasgage. of Ordinance — Lamar's Views on Secession — Blaine on Lamar 
and Secession. , 

THE election of Mr. Lincoln brought the South face to face with a 
most tremendous question. For the first time in the history of 
the nation the executive and the legislative branches of the government 
(with the consequent power to organize the judiciary) had both fallen 
into the hands of a party established on a sectional issue, sustained by 
a purely sectional vote, and inflexibly bent on the enforcement of a sec- 
tionally hostile policy. What was to be done about it — submission and 
union, or resistance and disunion? That was the question. The world 
knows the fateful decision. 

That decision, however, was by no means unanimous. When the 
sound of marching squadrons came from the North all sprang to arms 
with a unanimity and ardor never surpassed, and rarely equaled, and 
proved themselves " confederate " to the heart's core ; but in the ante- 
cedent deliberations there were many minds. Some were for immediate 
and unconditional secession, others for secession upon conditions, oth- 
ers for union still ; and yet others were lost in a wilderness of doubts 
and fears. 

On the 13th of November, 1860, Mr. Lamar wrote to Judge Long- 
street : 

The election of Lincoln has diffused a general feeling of dissatisfaction throughout 
the State. Some are anxious and dejected (myself among them), others confident and 
hopeful .of resistance, a large mass for awaiting the overt act, a few bad men rejoiced 
at the overthrow of the Democracy by any means, and ready to hang and quarter the 

If South Carolina will only have the courage to go out, all will be well. We will 
have a Southern Eepublic, or an amended Federal Constitution that will place our in- 
stitutions beyond all attack in the future. 

Immediately upon the ascertainment of the result of the election. 
Gov. Pettus, by proclamation, called upon the Legislature to meet at 
Jackson, on the 26th of November, to consider what steps should be 
taken to meet the emergency; and on the 12th he issued an invitation 
to the members of Congress from this State, including the Senators, to 
convene at the same place, on the 22d, in order to take counsel among 
themselves and with the State Government on the same subject, and es- 
pecially with regard to the matter of his message to the Legislature. 
This meeting was held accordingly, all being present except Mr. McKae. 



There was an animated and protracted discussion over the questions, in 
substance: Should Mississippi, "as soon as her convention can meet, 
pass an ordinance of secession, thus placing herself by the side of South 
Carolina, regardless of the action of other States? or shall she endeavor 
to hold South Carolina in check, and delay action herself, until other 
States can get ready, through their conventions, to unite with them; 
and then, on a given day, and at a given hour, by concert of action, all 
the States willing to do so secede in a body? " 

Upon one side it was argued tiiat South Carolina could not be induced to delay ac- 
tion a single moment beyond the meeting of her convention, and that our fete should 
be hers, and to delay action would be to have her crushed by the Federal Government; 
whereas by the earliest action possible we might be able to avert this calamity. On 
the other side it was contended that delay might bring the Federal Government to 
consider the emergency of the case, and perhaps a compromise could be effected ; but 
if not, then the proposed concert of action would at least give dignity to the move- 
ment, and present an undivided Southern front.* 

These questions were raised by a resolution offered by Congressman 
Eeuben Davis, to the effect that " the Governor insert in his message to 
the Legislature a recommendation that they call a convention for the 
purpose of seceding the State of Mississippi by separate State action." 

A vote was taken upon the resolution under consideration, Singleton, Barksdale, 
and E. Davis voting for, and Jeff Davis, Brown, and Lamar against it. Gov.- Pettus 
gave the casting vote in favor of the resolution, and it was adopted, the vote being 
made unanimous. I thought then, as I believe now, that the only point of difference 
was one of expediency, not of principle. I am sure that so far as principles were 
concerned we were all fully united. . . . After the adoption of the resolution above 
referred to, Gov. Pettus read to the committee a telegram which he had received the 
day before from the Governor of South Carolina, asking his advice whether the South 
Carolina ordinance of secession should be made to take effect instantly, or upon the 
4th of March. A resolution was then introduced by E. Davis, to the effect that Gov. 
Pettus should advise the Governor of South Carolina to cause the ordinance to take 
effect from and after its passage. This resolution was opposed by Jeff Davis, Brown, 
and Lamar, and supported by Singleton, Barksdale, and E. Davis, Gov. Pettus again 
giving the casting vote in favor of the resolution ; in accordance with which a reply 
was next day sent to the Governor of South Carolina.f 

On the next day after this meeting Mr. Lamar delivered a public ad- 
dress, in the town of Brandon, which is thus reported in the newspapers 
of the day : 

His speech was an earnest, dispassionate appeal to the people of the South to arouse 
from their lethargy, and arm for resisting Black Eepublican domination. He pictured 
in vivid colors the aggressions of the North upon the South since the enactment of the 
Compromise measures of 1850. Those measures were adopted by both sections as a 
final settlement of the slavery question, each agreeing that they would be carried out 
in good faith. Yet we to-day see upon the statute books of fourteen Northern States 
enactments nullifying the Fugitive Slave Law, which law was the only advantage or 
concession that the South gained in the Compromise measures. 

*0. B. Singleton, in Davis' " Eise and Fall of the Confederate Government," Vol. I., p. BS. 
t Reuben Davis, in the We6kl2/ Clarion, June 5, 1878. 


He was unwilling to enter into any more compromises, or accept guaranties from 
a people who had so flagrantly violated former agreements of that kind. 

After giving at length the design of the Black Republican party, through Mr. Lin- 
coln, upon the institution of slavery, he declared that secession was the only remedy 
now left for the Southern people to save themselves from a doom similar to that of 
the former white people of San Domingo. 

He submitted a plan by which the people of the Southern States, or so many of 
them as may choose to do so, might secede from the Union in a few days' time, and 
resume all the functions of government. The plan was, in subf tance, for the people of 
the South to meet together in convention, at their several State capitals, and appoint 
commissioners to another convention of all these States ; that convention to pass ordi- 
nances, declaring the State absolved from all further allegiance to the Government of 
the United States of North America; adopt the old constitution, without the crossing 
of a « or the dotting of an i; adopt the present Federal laws; elect new Electors, to 
choose a President and Vice President; and, in short, to readopt for the United States 
South all the laws, rules, and regulations now prevailing for the United States. This 
could all be done in a very few days, and there would be no anarchy, no bloodshed, 
or anything extraordinary to disturb the peace and quiet of the people. 

The Legislature assembled on the 26th, as called ; and to that body 
Gov. Pettus addressed an annual message, from which the following 
extract is taken : 

Can the lives, liberty, and property of the people of Mississippi be safely intrusted 
to the keeping of that sectional majority which must hereafter administer the Federal 

I think they cannot, for the following reasons : 

They have exhibited a low selfishness in seizing all the Territories, which are the 
common property of all the States. They have deliberately attempted to, and have 
succeeded in educating a generation to hate the South. They have sworn to support 
the Federal constitution, and deliberately passed laws with the palpable intent to vi- 
olate one of the plainest provisions of that compact. They have sent large sums of 
money to Congress, for the purpose of bribing the members of that body to pass laws 
to advance their private interests. They have attempted to degrade us in the estima- 
tion of other nations, by denouncing us as barbarians, pirates, and robbers — unfit as- 
sociates for Christian or civilized men. They have excited our slaves to insurrection, 
advised them to burn our property and murder our people, and have furnished them 
with arms and ammunition to aid them in their bloody work. They have murdered 
Southern men in the lawful pursuit of their fugitive slaves, and failed to punish their 
citizens for these flagrant violations of the laws of God and man. They have furnished 
money and arms for the invasion of a slaveholding State, and when the punishment 
awarded to treason and murder by all civilized nations overtook the invaders, they 
threatened the dastardly revenge of midnight incendiaries, tolled bells in honor of 
traitors and murderers, and rewarded the family of the chief traitor as never was re- 
warded that of any soldier who fell in defense of the country, and held him up as an 
example of heroic devotion to a just and glorious cause. Their press, pulpit, lecture 
room, and forum teem daily and nightly with exhortations to their people to press 
forward this war on our institutions, even to the drenching of Southern fields with 
the blood of her citizens. In view of all this long catalogue of insults and injuries, in 
view of the fact that this hostile section must continue to increase in power, I feel that 
I am warranted in saying that the Northern people have forfeited the confidence of 
the people of Mississippi; and that the lives, liberty, and property of ourselves — and 
our children after us — ought not to be intrusted to rulers elected by such a people. 


To this message the Legislature responded by calling a convention, to 
meet on the 7th of January following, and by a resolution " that seces- 
sion by the aggrieved States, for their grievances, is the remedy." 

When the Thirty-sixth Congress convened in its second session, on 
the 3d of December, Mr. Lamar was present, as were all of the members 
from Mississippi, including the Senators. Early in the session meas- 
ures were proposed, looking to a compromise and settlement of the dif- 
ferences between the parties; but they were delayed, and it became 
manifest to the Southern members that nothing would come of them. 
Mr. Lamar resigned his seat, and left Washington on the 12th of De- 
cember, for the purpose of canvassing the State for the coming Seces- 
sion Convention. On the day preceding he wrote to Judge Longstreet: 

We are living in eventful times, and tlie only pleasure I have among the tremen- 
dous responsibilities upon me is the thought of those I love. ... I send you a 
letter of mine by to-day's mail. You will doubtless deem it too subdued in tone. 
What I know will happen in the next year has taken all the " highfaluting " out of me. 
God bless you, my darling old father. 

The letter alluded to in the foregoing epistle was that of date Decem- 
ber 10, addressed to Hon. P. P. Liddell, of CarroUton, Miss.* This let- 
ter will be found to give a full exposition of Mr. Lamar's views as to the 
proper steps needed most certainly and most easily to form the South- 
ern Republic. Of it the Vicksburg Whig, the leading paper of that par- 
ty in the State, said: " Mr. Lamar advances a plan for the formation of 
a Southern Confederacy. It is the first which has yet been promulgated 
having the least spark of practicability about it." 

Before leaving Washington he witnessed a scene in the Senate cham- 
ber which made the profoundest impression upon him. In after years 
he often described it in his speeches before the people. It seemed to 
recar in various and frequent connections, like the haunting of a vivid 

It is given below, in his owA words, as depicted in his speech of Jan- 
nry 24, 1878, in the United States Senate: 

I remember hearing on this floor the then distinguished Senator from New York 
(Mr. Seward) declare that the power had departed from the South ; that the scepter 
was now taken from her hand; and that henceforth the great North, stronger in pop- 
ulation and in the roll of sovereign States, would grasp the power of government and 
become responsible for its administration. I am aware that I listened to him with 
impatience, and, perhaps, with prejudice. For it seemed to me that he spoke in a 
spirit of exultation that scarcely realized the magnitude of the task about to devolve 
upon him and his associates. It struck me that he spoke in a spirit far removed 
from that sadness and solemnity which I think always weighs upon the mind and 
heart of a truly great man in the presence of a grave crisis of national life. 

I remember the answer that was made to him by a South Carolina Senator, Gov. 
Hammond. . . . He was surrounded by a circle ofSouthern statesmen whom no fu- 
ture generation will see surpassed in ability or purity, be the glory of our growth, as I 

* See Appendix, No. 6. 

90 LUCIUS Q. a LA if A R: 

trust it will be, unrivaled in the history of nations. There was James M. Mason, the 
square and massive simplicity of whose character and purity stands monumental in 
our annals. There was his accomplished colleague, Robert M. T. Hunter, whose clear 
and broad statesmanship found fitting expression in a scholarly eloquence that drew 
friends and opponents into the same circle of admiring affection. There was Slidell, 
with his shrewd and practical wisdom; and near him J. P. Benjamin, whose astute- 
ness and skill and eloquence and learning have since rebuilt his fame and his fortune 
in that Olymphic field of mental conflict, the great courts of Westminister. There 
was Robert Toombs, who never spoke without striking at the heart of big thoughts 
and kindling the ideas of all who listened to him. There was Clement C. Clay, the 
cultured student whose heart was the sanctuary of lofty feeling and stern principle. 
There was Albert G. Brown, from my own State, who never had an aspiration not in 
sympathy with the wants and feelings of his own people; who yet was never over- 
awed by their prejudices or swerved from his convictions by their passions. There 
was another — Jefferson Davis — one who has been the vicarious sufferer for his people, 
the solitude of whose punishment should lift him above the jibe and the jeer of pop- 
ular passion, but whose words will stand forever upon the record of history ; not in 
defiance, not in triumph, but as the sad and grand memoranda of the earnest spirit, 
the lofty motives of the mighty struggle, which, however mistaken in its ends and dis- 
astrous in its results, was inaugurated by those who believed it to be in the interest 
of representative liberty and constitutional government. 

Among these, and surrounded by others like them, the Senator from South Caro- 
lina, with that noble presence which lives in the memory of all who ever saw him, 
addressed to his Northern associates on this floor the words which I have never seen 
in print from that day to this, but which I can never forget; and which, if the Senate 
will permit me, I will here repeat: " Sir, what the Senator says is true. The power has 
passed from our hands into yours; but do not forget it, it cannot be forgotten, it is 
written upon the brightest page of history, that we, the slaveholders of the South, 
took our country in her infancy, and, after ruling her for near sixty out of the seventy 
years of her existence, we return her to you without a spot upon her honor, matchless 
in her splendor, incalculable in her power, the pride and admiration of the world. 
Time will show what you will do with her, but no time can dim our glory or diminish 
your responsibility." 

Mr. Lamar, on his return to Mississippi, was elected as one of the 
two delegates from Lafayette County to the convention. Before that 
body convened it was well known that the efforts making at Washing- 
ton in the way of a compromise and adjustment of the differences be- 
tween the sections were futile. On the 17th of December, Mr. Keuben 
Davis, one of Mr. Lamar's colleagues in the House, who had been 
placed as the representative of Mississippi upon the House Committee 
of Thirty-three, on grievances and the state of the country, wrote to Mr. 

I withdrew to-day from the Committee of Thirty-three. The Northern members, 
with H. Winter Davis, by vote forced upon us the consideration of a modification of 
the fugitive slave law, with the statement that they would hereafter let us know 
whether they would grant any concessions. All the members from the North, pretty 
much, have said in speeches that they had fought the recent battle upon the principle 
that property could not exist in a slave — nonextension of slavery, no admission of, 
another slave State, etc.— and that they would not surrender the principle. 


On the 31st of December the Senate Committee of Thirteen, on the 
same matters, reported that they could arrive at no satisfactory conclu- 

The Mississippi Convention met at Jackson on the 7th of January, 
1861, in accordance with the act of the Legislature. It was composed 
of two parties: the unconditional secessionists, who numbered two- 
thirds of the body; and the co5perationists, or those who favored seces- 
sion only upon condition that the Southern border States should coop- 
erate in the movement. 

Hon. William S. Barry, of Lowndes County, was elected President. 
Immediately after the organization Mr. Lamar offered a resolution, 
which was passed, that a committee of fifteen be appointed by the Presi- 
dent to prepare and report, as speedily as possible, an ordinance for the 
withdrawal of the State from the Federal Union, with a view to the es- 
tablishment of a new Confederacy, to be composed of the seceding 
States. The committee was accordingly appointed, and consisted of 
the mover as Chairman, and fourteen others. 

On the 9th Mr. Lamar, for the committee, reported the ordinance, 
which had been drafted by himself, and was as follows: 
An ordinance to dissolve the union between the State of Mississippi and other States 

united with her under the compact entitled " The Constitution of the United States 

of America." 

The people of Mississippi, in convention assembled, do ordain and declare, and it 
is hereby ordained and declared, as follows, to wit: 

Section 1. That all the laws and ordinances by which the said State of Mississippi 
became a member of the Federal Union of the United States of America be, and the 
same are hereby, repealed, and that all obligations on the part of said State, or the 
people thereof, be withdrawn, and that the said State doth hereby resume all the 
rights, functions, and powers which, by any of said laws and ordinances, were con- 
veyed to the Government of the said United States, and is absolved from all the obli- 
gations, restraints, and duties incurred to the said Federal Union, and shall hence- 
forth be a free, sovereign, and independent State. 

Sec. 2. That so much of the first section of the Seventh Article of the Constitution 
of this State as requires members of the Legislature and all officers, botli legislative 
and judicial, to take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States be, and 
the same is hereby abrogated and annulled. 

Sect. 3. That all rights acquired and vested under the Constitution of the United 
States, or under any act of Congress passed in pursuance thereof, or under any law of 
this State, and not incompatible with this ordinance, shall remain in force and have 
the same effect as if the ordinance had not been passed. 

Sec. 4. That the people of the State of Mississippi hereby consent to form a Federal 
Union with such of the States as have seceded or may secede from the Union of the 
United States of America, upon the basis of the present Constitution of the United 
States, except such parts thereof as embrafe other portions than such seceding States. 
On the 9th, also, in the afternoon, the ordinance was called up on the 
question of its final passage. The galleries and the floor of the Hall 
were crowded with spectators of the solemn scene. The yeas and nays 
were ordered. The Secretary called the roll slowly. As each member 


responded in tones vibrant with intense feeling suppressed, the murmur 
of conversation and the rustle of movement ceased, and a stillness as 
of death held the great assembly. As the roll call made it manifest 
that the result would be largely in favor of the adoption of the ordi- 
nance, tears gathered into the eyes" of nearly every actor and spectator. 
When the call was completed, and the President, rising, announced the 
result — ayes, eighty-four; noes, fifteen — a profound silence for some time 
prevailed. Then a silent wave of the President's hand, and the Eev. 
Whitfield Harrington stood by his side. Members and spectators arose, 
and with bowed heads united in. the prayer of the eloquent divine for 
God's blessing on the momentous step just taken. AH, by a subtle 
communion of thought, felt that they were leaving the old home which 
they had long loved well; that they wete turning their backs upon the 
house every stone of which was baptized by the blood of their fathers 
and by their mothers' tears; that the old flag which their fathers and 
themselves had borne from glory to glory was from henceforth to be 
alien and possibly hostile. For these people loved the Union. They, 
however, believed in their principles and their methods. If they were 
mistaken in the one and wrong in the other (questions not necessary to 
discuss here), none the less did they feel compelled to go; but even 
amongst those who so felt there were very few who went without many 
a longing and lingering backward look. 

Then there was a booming of cannon and a ringing of rejoicing bells, 
unwittingly ringing out the institution which had kept the nation in a 
turmoil for thirty years, and presaging the method of its destruction — 
the dread decision of battle. A fire bell, from an engine house in the 
capitol yard, first announced the tidings. Within three years the torches 
of Grant's and Sherman's armies had so laid the city in ashes that it be- 
came known, partly in derision and partly in wrath, as " Chimneyville." 

Mr. Lamar's views upon the political philosophy of secession — its 
character as a general movement of the Southern people — are fully set 
forth in a letter written by him to Mr. West, in 1883, introduced in an- 
other connection.* As he said therein, it was not a conspiracy of indi- 
viduals. " On the contrary, it was the culmination of a great dynastical 
struggle, an ' irrepressible conflict ' between two antagonistic societies, 
a culmination which had been foreseen and predicted by the wisest 
statesmen of the nation. . . . This culmination was a result of the opera- 
tion of political forces which it was not within the power of any individ- 
ual man or set of men to prevent or postpone." As to Mr. Lamar's per- 
sonal sentiments upon the matter, it is well to say a few words. Mr. 
Blaine has seen proper, in his work, " Twenty Years in Congress," to 
say of him that 

See Chap. XXVIII. 


His reason, his faith, his hope, all led him to believe in the necessity of preserving 
the union of the States; but he persuaded himself that fidelity to a constituency which 
had honored him, personal ties with friends from whom he could not part, the main- 
tenance of an institution which he was pledged to defend, called upon him to stand 
with the secession leaders in the revolt of 1861. He was thus ensnared in the toils of 
his own reasoning. His very strength became his weakness. He could not escape 
from his self-imposed thralldom, and he ended by following a cause whose success 
could bring no peace, instead of maintaining a cause whose righteousness was the as- 
surance of victory. 

This passage is purely imaginative. There is no warrant for it in fact. 
Mr. Lamar was never in any such condition of thralldom to sentiment 
as opposed to his reason and faith; nor was he dragged reluctantly along 
by his sense of fidelity to his constituency. He was possessed, in a high 
degree, of the sentiments attributed to him. No man felt them more 
deeply, or more seriously esteemed their demands. But they were not 
his captors in that great emergency. He also entertained a great ven- 
eration for the Union, and love of it. When secession seemed to him 
necessary, it was a necessity most painful. Could any securities have 
been obtained which would fairly have promised to obviate that neces- 
sity, he would have welcomed them most joyfully. In this he was by no 
means alone; it was the prevailing feeling. But, also, Mr. Lamar most 
firmly believed that, in tlie condition into which affairs had fallen, it was 
impossible any longer to preserve the dignity, sovereignty, and institu- 
tional self-government which the States had sedulously reserved in the 
formation of the Union, and the reservation of which all Southern and 
many Northern statesmen believed to have been indisputably a conditio 
sine qua non to the acceptance of that bond. He, therefore, logically 
believed, also, that there were but two courses open. One was to sub- 
mit iguominiously to a denial, within the Union, of the rights guar- 
anteed by the constitution (rights regarded as sacred, and as the very 
consideration for the formation of the federative compact); tamely to 
continue within a Union whose constitution should be, as Dr. Barnard 
expressed it in his letter, a constitution only if the North so pleased. 
The other was to preserve the rights and dignity of the Southern States 
by a peaceable withdrawal from a broken compact. The conclusion of 
his mind was a reluctant one, but it was the conclusion of his own rea- 
son and of his political faith. Nor did he regard the South as respon- 
sible for the existence of the momentous dilemma. 

Mr. Blaine, himself, does Mr. Lamar better justice when he says, in 
that other paragraph of his work, that 

He stood firmly by his State, in accordance with the political creed in which he 
had been reared ; but looked back with tender regret to the Union whose destiny he 
had wished to share, and under the protection of whose broader nationality he had 
hoped to live and die. 


Appointed to Confederate Congress— Lieutenant Colonel of Nineteenth Mississippi 
Regiment— Speech in Richmond— MiUtary Service— Battle of WiEiamsburg— Hon- 
orable Mention— Official Report— Illness— Resignation- Death of JeflTerson M. 

ON the 26tli of January the Secession Convention passed resolutions 
providing for the representation of the State in the Congress of 
a Southern Confederacy. Senators Davis and Brown were appointed to 
the Senate; and Messrs. Eeuben Davis, Lamar, Singleton, Barksdale, 
and McRae to the Lower House — thus returning the representation 
which had existed in the Congress of the I'uited States. But this plan 
was never effectuated. On February 4 a convention of States met at 
Montgomery, to which the Mississippi Convention had appointed seven 
delegates; and this convention, after electing Mr. Davis as Provisional 
President, and adopting a constitution, resolved itself into a Provisional 
Congress. It was this body which first legislated for the Confederacy. 

The Secession Convention also took measures to organize the army of 
the State, in case it should be n.eeded. Mr. Davis was made major 
general, and four brigadiers were appointed: Earl VanDom, Charles 
Clark, J. L. Alcorn, and C. H. Mott. 

It soon became apparent, however, that there was to be an army of 
the Confederate States. Gen. Mott then resigned his State command, 
and undertook, by a special authority from the Confederate Govern- 
ment, to i-aise a regiment for service "during the war." Mr. Lamar, 
who had been considering the question of taking a staff appointment, 
abandoned that idea, and cooperated with Gen. Mott in this work. Of- 
fers of companies poured in from all quarters; and the regiment, so far 
as its roster was concerned, was completed by the middle of May, al- 
though not sufficiently supplied with either tents or arms. Mott was 
elected colonel, and Lamar lieutenant colonel. Lieut. Col. Lamar then 
resigned his professorship in the university, and was on the 14th of May 
in Montgomery, offering his regiment to the Confederate War Depart- 
ment. This regiment was the first from its State raised for service 
" during the war," and it was numbered the Nineteenth of Mississippi. 

From Montgomery Mr. Lamar seems not to have returned to Missis- 
sippi, but to have gone on with his regiment to Richmond. To that 
city the Provisional Confederate Congress, by its resolution of May 21, 
had removed the seat of government. Col. Lamar was with Mr. Davis, 
in Richmond, on the 1st of June, at the Spottswood Hotel. Mr. Davis 
was there serenaded by the citizens of the city, and made an address 


from the balcony of the hotel. Gov. Wise, of Virginia, was then called 
on, and spoke; and then Mr. Lamar was called out, and made the clos- 
ing address of the occasion, from which the following extracts are taken: 

OenUemen: It aflfords me pleasure to respond to your call. But I feel conscious of 
my inability to address you in a strain worthy of the interest inspired by the great 
events now bo rapidly hurrying to their consummation. Indeed, it would be almost 
impossible to give adequate expression to the feelings with which all patriotic minds 
are now agitated. Fortunately, however, the time has come when the people need 
the aid neither of argument nor of exciting appeal. The time has arrived when they 
are satisfied that the deliverence of this fair State depends not upon argument, not 
upon eloquence, not upon statesmanship ; but upon the fighting manhood of the people 
of this country [cheers], upon the courage which dares to strike a braver blow for the 
right than the enemy dare strike for the wrong. 

The people of these Confederate States have, by a solemn appeal to the ballot box, 
after exhausting every efibrt to live at peace with their neighbors, proclaimed their de- 
termination to take their place and maintain it among the nationalities of the earth ; 
and the charter of their new nationality, which was written with the pen of our rev- 
olutionary fathers, and adopted at Montgomery, shall, if a sacrament be needed, be 
subscribed with the blood of patriotism. 

Fellow-citizens, if this continent is to be the theater of internecine strife, history 
will acquit these Confederate States of all responsibility for its calamities. The very 
first act of the Confederate Government was to send commissioners to Washington to 
make terms of peace, and to establish relations of amity between the two sections. 
... If that people had not been blinded by passion, maddened by fanaticism, and 
excited by the loss of power ; had they consented to a peaceful separation of these 
two' sections into two republics, each pursuing its destiny in accordance with its own 
choice, it would have afforded the strongest evidence of the capacity of man for self- 
government ever presented to the world. But they did not do it. They proclaimed 
war and subjugation. They have called upon you to abandon your right of self-gov- 
ernment, to surrender your civil liberty. 

Right here Virginia steps forward, and, among all the rich materials she has hith- 
erto contributed to the history of the country, there are none so rich as those contrib- 
uted in this contest; for, in the moment the Federal Government raised an arm 
against her Southern sisters Virginia sprang forward to catch the blow. Grand, glo- 
rious old commonwealth! Proud, free empress! Mother of States, themselves free, 
standing here in robes of steel, raising a majestic arm to press back the foe that dare 
attempt to force her daughters into an unnatural and unwilling union! And now 
war is denounced against her! an infuriate mob is upon her borders! But the senti- 
ment of Virginia is the sentiment of the South. Rather let the pillars of the new re- 
public crumble to their foundations; rather let its lofty battlements be overwhelmed 
with the last hope of liberty than that its people should quail in this hour of trial, or 
refuse to tread with her the bloodiest path that may be marked out for her to follow. 
The sentiment of the entire South is with her; men from every rank and class of so- 
ciety are rushing to arms, begging the government to put any kind of weapons into 
their hands, and to allow them to march to the battlefields of Virginia. I tell you, in 
our State, the little State of Mississippi, the number of men who are ready to fight, I 
fully believe, is above our voting population. Even the walls of our universities stand 
to-day mute and deserted, while our young students have marched upon the soil of 
Virginia, to mingle the dash of patriotic youth with the courage of disciplined man- 
hood, and teach the vainglorious foe the invincibility of Southern arms and the invi- 
olability of Virginia soil. Fellow-citizens, I shall not detain you longer. [Cries of 
" Go on."] 

96 LUCIUS Q. a LAM Ah: 

We may not know what will be the nature or result of this contest. It may be that 
much suffering is before us. It may be that our towns and cities will be sacked. It 
may be that our fields will be desolated. It may be — for it is well to look at the 
worst attitude of affairs — that our South shall yet emerge from the contest exhausted, 
pallid, her garments dripping with blood [loud cries of " No! No ! "] ; but for all that, 
she will survive, and her glorious constitution, fresh with vigor, will be instinct with 
immortal life. 

This very night I look forward to the day when this beloved country of ours— for, 
thank God! we have a country at last— will be a country to live for, to pray for, to 
fight for, and if necessary, to die for. [A voice: " Yes, I am willing to die for it a hun- 
dred times over."] 

Cheers, amid which the windows were closed, and the crowd slowly dispersed. 

From Eichmond Col. Lamar went immediately into camp witli Ms 
regiment. Soldiering was not congenial to him. The camp life, with 
its isolation from intellectual circles, with its daily drill, its hourly de- 
mand of small details of police, equipment, and organization, was ex- 
ceedingly irksome. Removed at once from all those pursuits which had 
filled his life, transplanted into a condition wholly strange, the compen- 
sations which partly consoled many others whose lives were equally rev- 
olutionized did not appeal to him. Whether he would have succeeded 
as a military officer cannot now be told. His great personal courage, 
his invincible coolness in times of danger, his fixed resolution to achieve 
his objects if achievement were possible, his urbanity coupled with an 
inflexible firmness, were all on his side; while his inability, to under- 
stand tactics, which he declared to be "the puzzle of his life," was 
against him. The course of events growing out of failing health, as will 
be seen, prevented the supreme and final test. 

Before the regiment left Richmond Col. Lamar had the first attack of 
a physical infirmity, which pursued him during the whole of his afterlife, 
which hung over him always, a veritable sword of Damocles. It was a 
violent vertigo, something like an apoplexy, accompanied by unconscious- 
ness more or less prolonged, and followed by more or less of paralysis 
of one side. Sometimes even his speech was afiected. 

This attack, which was about the 1st of July, prevented his going to 
the front with the regiment, although not so severe as some others of 
later date. It caused his friends great alarm, and his wife was tele- 
graphed for from Mississippi. 

On the 11th of July Col. Mott, who seems not then to have understood 
fully the serious nature of his illness, wrote to him from the front: 

Our regiment seems to be ready and eager for the conflict, but I trust it will not be 
forced upon us till we can have your assistance. We may need that sort of vim and 
propelling power which you possess in a greater degree than any man I ever saw, and 
which the Major and I are very deficient in. 

Improving somewhat, the Colonel was sent home to Oxford, Miss., 
about the middle of July. There he remained, hoping for recovery, 


longing to rejoin his command and participate in their dangers and glo- 
rious exploits, consuming his heart with rebellion and impatience, 
raging against the enemy who waged "a war so cruel and iniquitous." 
Frequent " slight rushes of blood to the head " continued, and caused 
the physician to abound in serious warning. 

About the 1st of November he returned to Bichmond, dragging a 
lame left leg, but unable to resist the impulse to get again to work. On 
the 9th Col. Mott writes to him from the camp near Centerville: 

Inquire at the clothing department in Richmond with a view to procuring over- 
coats for the men. It is almost indispensable that they should be supplied with 
overcoats for the winter. . . . Our tents are made of such poor material that the 
winds and weather will soon render them worthless, and we must begin to look after 
the health and comfort of the men before the winter is upon us. In my anxiety to 
preserve your tent, I have not had it used for a long time, sending it to Manassas with 
our extra baggage; and now it is said to be entirely rotted. My tent still holds to- 
gether, and is large enough for both of us. Our regiment has suffered severely from 
sickness ; had improved greatly until out on picket in bad weather without tents or 
fires, the number of sick increased again. There have been three deaths within the 
last thirty-six hours. 

On the 22d of November he wrote his wife, from Eichmond: 

I shall probably start next Monday for General Johnston's headquarters, and will 
keep you pretty well posted about army matters. There is some ill feeling between 
the Potomac generals and the President. I fear that cousin James Longstreet is taking 
sides against the administration. He will certainly commit a grave error if he does. 
I hope to be able to disabuse his mind, as well as that of Gen. Johnston, of some 
wrong impressions. ... I hope I am nearly cured of my sickness. I can manage 
to get along with a stick, though my leg is quite weak and uncertain in its move- 
ments. My vertigo comes upon me very rarely, and then in a very modified form, 
. . . The President seems more attached to me than ever. Everybody says that it is 
well known that he loves me. If we ever have peace, I expect I shall be sent as Minis- 
ter to Spain or Sardinia. ... If I were well enough off, I should give up public life 
and devote myself to social duties ; but as it is not possible to do that yet, I will do aU 
I can to improve the condition of my family. I have now no other earthly object in 

During this winter, whilst the army was in winter quarters around 
Centerville, Gen. Johnston offered to Lieut. Col. Lamar to recommend 
him for promotion to the rank of brigadier general. The Colonel 
thanked him, but said immediately: " Gen. Johnston, I shall never con- 
sent to receive promotion over the head of my friend. Col. Mott. He 
deserves it, and I request that you recommend him instead." This was 
done, and Col. Mott would have been commissioned but for his untimely 

From this period forth Col. Lamar was with his regiment at the front. 
In April they were in the lines near Yorktown, confronting McClellau 
and awaiting his attack. Here there was a continuous firing, with shells 
and balls flying, numerous " skirmishes of little importance and signifi- 
cant of nothing," as he wrote; and here he cheered his men occasionally 


by making them a speech. He suffered much from the exposure; and 
as the spring opened, serious symptoms of vertigo again appeared. 

On the 5th of May the battle of Williamsburg occurred. In this 
hotly contested field he took a distinguished part, being complimented 
by three brigadiers, including his own, and by Gen. Longstreet, in their 
reports. But he had the great grief to lose his friend, Col. Mott, who 
fell gallantly leading his men. 

This battle was the first serious engagement of the great Peninsular 
Campaign. On the night of the 3d of May the Confederates abandoned 
their position at Yorktown and began a retrograde movement toward 
Richmond. The Federal army pursued closely, and Gen. Longstreet 
determined to repel that pursuit. A line of fortifications had been 
thrown up about two miles east of Williamsburg, and it was occupied by 
a portion of Longstreet's Corps. Thus he fronted eastwardly toward 
the pursuing Federals, with his right flank toward James River; and 
on the right, a dense forest. 

Orders were given to Gen. Anderson to organize columns of attack 
upon the Federal position and batteries, using the brigades of Wilcox 
(in which was Col. Lamar's regiment) and of A. P. Hill, supported by 
that of Pickett. The attacking columns were well arranged, and were 
gallantly led by Gen. Anderson. Leaving the fortifications behind 
them, the Confederate line pressed eagerly forward, and drove back that 
portion of Hooker's Division which confronted them. As the forces ad- 
vanced the battle broadened, and the brigades of Pryor, Jenkins, Early, 
and Colston, successively, became engaged. On the right flank of the 
Confederates they were successful in holding their gained ground; but 
on the left flank, on which Gen. Hancock had appeared late in the 
afternoon with a heavy assailing force, they were not so fortunate, and 
they failed to drive him back. The battle lasted during the day, and was 
inconclusive, each side claiming the advantage. 

The brigade of Wilcox, which was first in the field, was ordered to 
occupy the forest. The Nineteenth Mississippi was the center regi- 
ment of the brigade, the Ninth Alabama being to its left, and the Tenth 
Alabama to its right. The wood was entered. It was so dense that a 
colonel could not see his whole regiment when in line of battle. When 
the skirmish line had penetrated the wood something under two hun- 
dred yards, it encountered a brisk fire from the Federal skirmishers. 
The Federal line of battle was then developed about two hundred yards 
to the front, almost parallel with that of the Confederates, protected 
partly by a rail fence, partly by felled trees, and partly by low and 
boggy ground. Its left flank extended beyond the Confederate right. 

Gen. Pryor then came up with about seven hundred men of his bri- 
gade, and was placed on the right of Wilcox. The order to forward was 
now given. The line advanced boldly, and almost instantly became en- 


gaged in a close musketry fight. A heavy fire was concentrated on the 
Tenth Alabama, both in front and from its right flank; it was thrown 
into some confusion and gave way, but quickly reformed and returned 
to the attack with cheers. 

At this time Gen. A. P. Hill came up with his brigade. It was or- 
dered into action, covering Pryor's troops and the Tenth Alabama. A 
small regiment (the First Virginia) was placed in position to the rear 
of the Ninth Alaljama, with orders to follow and support that regiment; 
and another regiment of this brigade (the Twenty-eighth Virginia) was 
directed to support the Nineteenth Mississippi. Pickett's Brigade soon 
arrived, and was posted to the right of Hill. The musketry was now in- 
cessant and heavy, and extended along the whole front, continuing from 
this time (11 a.m.), with but little intermission, until near dark. 

The Nineteenth Mississippi had met the enemy, compactly formed, 
under cover, and in rear of a fence and piled-up logs. Led by the gal- 
lant Mott, after a few minutes of close musketry, at a distance of less 
than thirty yards, it charged, and a stubborn fight ensued. The Feder- 
als were forced to yield, leaving the ground thickly strewn with the 
dead and the wounded. Driven from that position, the Federal line at- 
tempted to form to the rear; but it was again forced back, and sought 
refuge in the fallen timber. 

It was directly in front of the fence that Col. Mott fell, shot through 
the breast with a minie ball. 

The Nineteenth Mississippi (says Gen. "Wilcox in his report), after the fall of its 
highly esteemed and brave colonel, was commanded during the remainder of the day 
by its lieutenant colonel, L. Q. C. Lamar. This officer, suddenly called to, the com- 
mand of his regiment, acquitted himself creditably throughout this long and stubborn- 
ly contested musketry fight, proving himself in all respects a competent, daring, and 
skillful officer. 

Col. Lamar's personal adventures, and those of his regiment, are more 
fully told in a report of the battle, made by himself to his brigade head- 
quarters, from which the following extracts are taken: 

Headquarters Nineteenth Eegiment Mississippi Volunteers, > 
Near Long Bridge, Va., May 13, 1862. ) 

Sir; I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my com- 
mand during the action of the 5th inst. : 

At about 8.30 a.m. Col. C. H. Mott, then commanding our regiment, was ordered by 
Gren. Wilcox to make a sortie from the second redoubt, on the right of Fort Magruder, 
through a field into the forest supposed to be occupied by the enemy in large force. . . . 

In consequence of the dense undergrowth and uneven ground Col. Mott had placed 
the right wing of the regiment under my command, and directed me to operate with 
it according to my own discretion. At the command of our colonel the men advanced 
with great spirit and steadiness. A destructive fire was at once opened upon us by the 
enemy. In the first volley, as I was afterwards informed, Col. Mott fell, shot through 
the body while cheering on his men. The fight became at once general along our 
whole line. The men under my command pressed on to the attack with the utmost 
eagerness, and yet with perfect coolness, keeping our line as unbroken as the nature 


of the ground would allow, and firing with deliberation and telling efiect. The ene- 
my, partially protected by the fence behind which they were posted, contested the 
ground most stubbornly. The opposing lines could not have been more than thirty 
yards apart, and for a time I expected a hand to hand conflict with the bayonet; but 
at last, wavering before the impetuosity and undaunted resolution of our men, the 
enemy began to yield the ground, continuing to fire as they retired. 

Just as we reached the fence above alluded to, the [First] Virginia Regiment came 
upon our right companies, having been sent as reenforcements. They continued with 
us, two companies fighting in line with my regiment, the others in the rear acting as 
a support. Passing the fence, where, in evidence of the precision of our fire, the ene- 
my lay slain in large numbers, my men continued to drive the enemy before them un- 
til they reached an open place of felled timber, which formed an abatis for the ene- 
my. Being on open ground, I deemed it proper to halt my command in order to con- 
nect it with the left wing, so that the unity and organization of the regiment could be 
preserved, and the whole put under the command of its colonel. 

The operations of the left wing of the regiment up to this time I cannot report from 
personal observation; but from Maj. John Mullins and other reliable sources I learn 
that the companies of which it was composed moved with the most perfect order, in 
line with the right wing, until the first position of the enemy was carried; that here, 
coming upon the abatis of felled trees, the progress of the extreme left companies was 
impeded; that, owing to a severe fire from their left, supposed by them to have come 
from our own troops through mistake, they were thrown into some confusion, which 
was increased by an order to fall back and reform; but that, though to some extent 
scattered, they fought on eagerly, and the list of their killed and wounded shows them 
to have been in the thickest of the fight. 

Unable to find my left wing, and discovering that troops of other brigades were on 
both flanks of my command, I ordered it to advance. Our reenforcements had pressed 
on, and now occupied the front, and were most hotly engaged. I drew up my men 
within supporting distance, ready to advance and take the front at a moment's notice. 

For an hour we were exposed to a galling fire, which was borne with the same firm- 
ness that marked the conduct of the men in their first successful attack. 

While in this position I was joined by Capt. W. G. Martin, of Company B, and 
learned from him for the first time of the fate of Col. Mott, and the position of our left 
companies. . . . The [First] Regiment, which was on my left and somewhat in 
front, had now expended its ammunition, and moved from its position by filing to the 
rear by the right. I threw my regiment forward to the position thus vacated, and ap- 
plied in person to Brig. Gen. A. P. Hill, commanding (with his brigade) that portion of 
our line, for permission to hold it with my regiment as a part of his brigade, and re- 
ceived his consent. At this juncture the fire slackened on my new position, but, 
growing exceedingly severe to my right, I was ordered by Gen. Hill to throw my reg- 
iment in that direction, to support the troops thus hotly engaged. In the execution 
of this order I encountered Brig. Gen. Pryor, with one of his regiments, very closely 
engaged with the enemy. Gen. Pryor at once ordered me to throw two of my compa- 
nies to the right, to arrest an apprehended flank movement of the enemy. The re- 
maining portion of the regiment was held in reserve. The enemy here ceased his at- 
tack, and in this position I remained until near 8 p.m., when, pursuant to orders, I 
moved my regiment from the field. From the time the order to advance was given 
until the conflict terminated this regiment was under fire, and through it all both offi- 
cers and men bore themselves with an intrepidity which merits the highest commen- 

I append herewith a list of the casualties in this regiment, from which it appears 
that our loss amounts to 100 killed and wounded. In consequence of heavy details 
and sickness among our recruits, we carried into the field only 501 men. 


Not only did Col. Lamar's handling of his regiment in this battle re- 
ceive the complimentary notice from Gen. Wilcox quoted above; but, 
also, Gen. A. P. Hill, in his report, mentioned him in these terms: 

Lieut. Col. Lamar, of the Nineteenth Mississippi, volunteered to serve under my 
orders, having become separated from his brigade, and was eager to bear his part in 
the day's fray, nobly seconded by the right wing of his regiment. He rendered me 
most efficient service. 

Gen. Pryor, also, said of him this: 

At this moment Lieut. Col. Lamar, of the Nineteenth Mississippi, just issuing from 
a severe but successful struggle, came up with his regiment, and reported that he had 
been sent to my assistance. Two of his companies I threw to my right, to arrest a re- 
ported flank movement of the enemy ; the balance I held in reserve. 

And Gen. Longstreet said: 

Col. Kemper . . . and Lieut. Col. Lamar (favorably mentioned by three of the 
brigadier generals) discharged their difficult duties with marked skill and fearlessness.* 

To the regiment itself, because of its gallantry, Gen. Johnston granted 
the honor of the right to inscribe " Williamsburg " on its standard. 

Although Col. Lamar's bearing at Williamsburg met such ample and 
flattering recognition, he never plumed himself on his military career. 
He had no conceit of his own capacity as a military leader. Albeit no 
one had a greater admiration for and love of a gallant soldier, his own 
ambitions lay entirely apart from that career. In later years he was 
wont, at home and in the lobbies of the Senate chamber, in coteries of 
his friends (which embraced many of the most distinguished officers of 
both sides), to make his adventures at Williamsburg the subject of bur- 
lesque narratives, and the text of humorous dissertations on the cheap- 
ness of military glory, whereby he would seek, in jest, to lessen the pride 
of the "generals." 

Well was it for him that his ambition lay in other directions; for 
about the 15th of May, as he was reviewing his regiment, his vertigo re- 
turned suddenly, and in a most violent form. He fell as if he had been 
shot. The soldiers raised him upon a litter, covered him with the regi- 
mental flag, and carried him to his tent. From thence an ambulance 
conveyed him to friends in Richmond. His connection with the line 
was over. 

Again for months there was the same slow and uncertain recovery. 
In June he went home, and from thence, in July, with his family, to Ma- 
con, Ga., where he enjoyed the solace of the society of his mother and 

In September of this year he had the great misfortune to lose his 
younger brother, Jefferson M., to whom he was most tenderly attached. 
Jefferson was the lieutenant colonel of Cobb's (Georgia) Legion, and 
fell while leading a charge at Crampton's Gap, in the Blue Eidge, in 

* " War of the Eebellion," Series I;, Vol. XL, Part I., pp. 667, 579, 688, 689, 597. 


Maryland. In that desperate and bloody fight he was ordered to pro- 
tect a small gap to the right of the field. Upon reaching the spot, he 
ordered a charge over a stone fence. He scaled it himself, in his sad- 
dle; but his horse was immediately shot, and fell under him. He 
promptly raised his cap, and, waving it, cheered on his men, calling 
upon them to follow him; but he was immediately pierced by a number 
of bullets from the enemy, who were in great force in front and on both 
sides. He still kept the field, refusing to be removed. Stretched out 
upon the ground, with his hand supporting his head, while his elbow 
rested upon the earth, he could still watch and encourage his men. When 
any faltering was apx^arent in their thinned ranks he would check it by 
simply saying to those in front, " If you fall back, you will tread on my 
body; " and to those in the rear, "If you retreat, you will leave me here." 
Hours passed away in an unequal contest. All that remained of Cobb's 
Legion were taken prisoners, clustering about their dying colonel's form. 
He survived only a few days. His loss was a terrible blow to the fam- 
ily, for he was their Benjamin and their Joseph in one. He had been 
married less than a year before to a lovely cousin, a niece of Mrs. 
Howell Cobb's. The family had dreamed of a great future for " Jeffey," 
regarding him as the most highly gifted of the three brothers. Twenty- 
three years later Col. Lamar wrote of this lost brother : "I never knew 
a more perfect being, from the time of his childhood up to the day of his 
death. I never heard a word fall from his lips that could not have been 
uttered in the presence of his mother and sisters. His success was of ex- 
ceptional brilliancy, and his death was an irreparable loss to Georgia." 

Col. John B. Lamar, a cousin, was also mortally wounded in the same 
engagement, dying on the next day. 

In October, Col. Lamar, owing to continued bad health, resigned his 
colonelcy of the regiment, in order to accept other employment. When 
the regiment received intelligence of his resignation, a meeting of ofii- 
cers and men was called, and resolutions were adopted expressing regret 
for his resignation, and requesting him to recall it and to resume com- 
mand after his health should have been restored. To this he replied 
that his absence would necessarily be a prolonged one, and, while 
greatly appreciating the compliment paid to himself, and regretting to 
sever his connection with the regiment, he felt that it would be a grave 
injustice to the other officers who must command in the field and who 
deserved promotion, if he should consent to adopt that course. Col. N. 
H. Harris (afterwards brigadier general), who succeeded to the colo- 
nelcy thus vacated, is authority for the statement that the soldiers of the 
regiment regarded him as a heroic leader and felt deep sorrow at his 
resignation; that great and lasting mutual affection existed between the 
men and himself. 


Envoy to Eussia — Special Letter of Instructions — Trip to England — Official Dispatch- 
es — Mission Terminated — Anecdote of Thackeray — Anecdote of Disraeli^ — Speech 
in England — Eeturn to the Confederacy — Speech at Atlanta — Death of Thompson 
B. Lamar — Judge Advocate of Third Corps — Speech in Lines — Surrender. 

A TRANSITION from the dullness, the monotony, and the priva- 
tions of army life in the beleaguered Confederacy to the vivacities, 
the multiform interests, and the luxuries of the largest and gayest cap- 
itals of Europe was a great one; but just this is what came next to Col. 

On the 19th of November, 1862, he was appointed Special Commis- 
sioner of the Confederate States to the Empire of Russia. In addition 
to his commission and his special passport he was furnished with a 
letter from President Davis to the Czar, a letter from the Secretary of 
State to the Russian Minister of Foreign Afifairs, letters of instVuction 
from the Secretary of State, and copies of the letters of instruction 
theretofore given to Messrs. Mason and Slidell.* Of these papers the 
following is set forth in the text, as showing most clearly the views and 
policy of the administration in respect to this mission: 

Confederate States of Amekica, Department of State, \ 
Richmond, November 19, 1862. / 

Lucius Q. C. Lamar, Esq., Commissioner to Eussia, 

Sir: When several of the independent States which had formerly been members 
of the confederation known as the " United States of America " determined to with- 
draw from the Union and to associate themselves in a new confederation under the 
name of the "Confederate States of America," it was natural and proper that they 
should communicate this fact to the other nations of the earth. The usages of inter- 
national intercourse require official communication of all organic changes in the con- 
stitutions of States, and there was obvious propriety in giving prompt assurance of our 
desire to continue the most amicable relations with all mankind. 

Actuated by these considerations, one of the first cares of the government was to 
send to Europe commissioners charged with the duty of visiting the capitals of the 
different powers and making preliminary arrangements for the opening of more formal 
diplomatic intercourse. Prior, however, to the arrival of the commissioners the United 
States had declared war against the Confederacy, and had in its communications to the 
different cabinets of Europe assumed the attitude of being sovereign over the Con- 
federacy, alleging that these independent States were in rebellion against other States 
with which they had theretofore been acknowledged confederates on a footing of perfect 
equality. To the extreme surprise of this government, this absurd pretension was 
considered by the cabinets of Great Britain and France as affording a valid reason for 
declining to pntertain relations with the Confederate States, or even to recognize the 

See Appendix, No. 6. 



continued existence of these States as independent sovereignties. It soon became ap- 
parent that, in consequence of the delegation of power formerly granted by these 
States to the Federal Government to represent them in foreign intercourse, the nations 
of Europe had been led into the grave error of supposing that the separate tovereignty 
and independence of these States had been merged into one common sovereignty, and 
had thus ceased to exist. All attempts to dispel so grave an error by argument and 
appeal to historic facts were found unavailing, and the cabinets of Versailles and 
St. James intimated their determination to confine themselves to recognizing the 
self-evident fact of the existence of a war; to treat us as belligerents; and to postpone 
any decision of the question of right until that of might was made clear. 

This result of our offers to enter into amicable relations with the two great powers 
of Europe whose proximity caused them to be first visited by our commissioners nat- 
urally created some hesitancy in approaching his Imperial Majesty, Alexander II. 
Due self-respect forbade our assuming an attitude which could possibly be construed 
into a supplication for favor as inferiors, instead of a tender of friendly intercouri-e as 
equals. Nor is it improper to add that a communication to which extensive publicity 
was given, addressed by the cabinet of St. Petersburg to that of Washington, justified 
the inference of the existence in that city of the same views as those which were 
avowed at London and at Paris. 

Under these circumstances this government abstained from further obtruding on 
European powers any propositions for commercial or other amicable relations, and ac- 
cepted, with stern determination, the arbitrament to which all civilized nations 
seemed to invite it. The result has become matter of history, and I have only made 
these prefatory remarks that you may understand, and be able to explain, the causes 
which prevented this government from making, eighteen months ago, the same ad- 
vances to his Imperial Majesty which were made to two of the other great European 

The time has now arrived when, in the judgment of the President, he may, without 
hazard of misconstruction, tender to the Emperor of Russia the assurances of the sin- 
cere desireof this people to entertain with him the most cordial relations of friendship 
and commercial intercourse, and the President has chosen you to represent this gov- 
ernment in conveying such assurances. 

In opening your communications on this subject with the cabinet of St. Petersburg, 
it is not deemed necessary that you resort to argument to maintain the right of these 
States to secede from the United States any further than may be embraced in the 
statement above given of the reasons which have caused delay in approaching that 
government on the subject. You will, of covirse, not refuse any explanations on this 
point which may seem to be invited, but we now place our demand for recognition 
and admission into the family of nations on the result of the test to which Europe, by 
common understanding, submitted our rights. "We have conquered our position by 
the sword. We are ready and able to maintain it against the utmost efforts of our 
enemies in the future, as we have already done in the past. We were independent 
States before secession; we have been independent ever since, in spite of an invasion 
by armaments far exceeding in magnitude that immense host which, to Russia's im- 
mortal honor, she overwhelmed with disaster by the voluntary sacrifice of her capi- 
tal. Nearly a million of armed men, aided by numerous fleets possessing unques- 
tioned control over the waters of our coasts, have, in a war now far advanced into the 
second year, utterly failed to make any progress in the insane effort to subjugate this 
Confederacy, whose territory covers nearly half a continent, and whose population 
exceeds ten millions of inhabitants. 

According to the Code of International Law, a nation which, with such elements 
of grandeur, also presents itself with an organized government and an obedient peo- 
ple, with institutions created in past generations by the free will of the citizens, and 


still cherished; a nation defended by numerous armies, that crush all attempts of a 
most powerful foe to subjugate it; a nation which is aiming at no Conquest, seeking no 
advanUges, and using its sword for the sole purpose of defending its inherent right 
of self-government— such a nation may well insist on its claim to recognition irom 
those who may expect hereafter to maintain with it relations of mutual advantage 
in the exchange of good offices and the freedom of commercial intercourse. 

It is not deemed necessary to dwell on the many considerations which plainly indi- 
cate the benefits that must result to both nations from the establishment of friendly 
relations and unrestricted commerce. No rival interests exist to impede the creation 
or disturb the continuance of such relations; but the people of each country have 
everything to gain from a free interchange of the commodities which the other pro- 
duces in excess of its own wants. Each, pursuing its own career in the development 
of its own resources, would be regarded by the other as supplying new aliment for 
an intercourse mutually advantageous, and additional motives for cherishing the 
most cordial amity. 

On the subject of the recognition of the Confederacy you will not fail to represent 
to the government of his Imperial Majesty that, while the war which now ravages 
this continent and afflicts mankind was due, in some measure, to the determination 
of Europe to leave the decision of the questions which have arisen between the 
Northern and the Southern States of North America to the arbitrament of war, rather 
than by friendly intervention to promote their amicable adjustment; the adherence 
of those governments at the present time to a line of policy purely passive is the sole 
cause of the continuance of hostilities. Desperate as the United States now know the 
attempt to be, they can scarcely be expected to abandon their avowed purpose of sub- 
jugating the South in the absence of some expression on the part of the great powers 
of Europe justifying such abandonment. The people of the North, knowing that the 
right of the Confederacy to recognition is dependent solely upon its ability to defend 
itself against conquest by its enemies, cannot interpret the failure of Europe to 
accord that recognition on any other ground than the conviction that the North is able 
to subjugate the South. The unprecedented silence of European cabinets, after the 
abundant evidence afforded by the events of the past eighteen months of the power 
of the Confederacy to defend itself, is scarcely less effective in stimulating the United 
States to continue its present atrocious warfare than language of direct encouragement. 
The President is well aware that such can, by no possibility, be the intention of the 
humane and enlightened ruler who now presides over the destinies of Eussia, but he 
is also well satisfied that such are the views attributed to neutral powers by the 
United States as being fairly deducible from the hesitation hitherto evinced in yield- 
ing to the just demand of this government for the recognition of its independent na- 

If your efforts to open negotiations with the Russian Cabinet on the basis of our 
recognition shall prove successful, you will be expected to continue your residence 
near that court as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, and to that 
end you will receive herewith your commission as such, together with letters of cre- 
dence to his Imperial Majesty. 

It is desirable that you seek occasion to confer with Mr. Mason or Mr. Slidell, or both, 
on the way to the seat of your mission, in order to inform yourself fully of the condi- 
tion of affairs in Europe at the time of your arrival, and if any important change 
shall have occurred rendering your compliance with any part of your present instruc- 
tions impolitic or unadvisable, you may exercise your own discretion after conference 
with one or both of these gentlemen, in postponing the execution of them until fur- 
ther instructions from Richmond. 

I am, sir, your obedient servant, J. P. Benjamin, Secretary of Slaie. 


Mr. Lamar started upon his mission about the 1st of December. At 
first he designed to go by way of Mobile, taking passage on the war ves- 
sel " Florida; " but the uncertainty of her departure caused him to aban- 
don this plan and go by way of Mexico. He spent five days in Vicks- 
burg, where he was pleasantly entertained at the hospitable home of 
Walker Brooke, Esq. From thence he took passage for Alexandria, 
La., in the steamboat "T. W. Roberts," reaching Alexandria on the 
night of the 19th. 

On the 24:th of December he wrote to his wife from Niblett's Bluff: 
I have just this moment arrived at this place. It is on the Sabine River, one hun- 
dred and twenty-five miles from Houston, Tex. We got to Alexandria last Saturday. 
It took us three and a half days to get here in a hack. The country we have come 
through is one long stretch of pine barrens interspersed with patches of prairie. The 
settlers are not in ten miles of each other, and so far as I can judge, have no means 
of support. I shall leave to-night on the boat for Houston. 

He left San Antonio on the 3d of January, 1863; and Matamoras on 
the 25th of January, on the French vessel " Malabar," bound for Ha- 
vana. At the mouth of the Eio Grande they passed two French war 
vessels and one English. After a stormy passage he reached Havana 
on the evening of the 3d of February. From Havana he found his 
way to Saint Thomas, in the Virgin Islands; and thence to England, 
reaching London on the night of March 1. 

On the 19th he wrote to his wife from the Burlington Hotel : 

I reached London on the night of the 1st of March, and have been much occupied 
ever since in receiving company and going to dinners. I have seen many of the no- 
tabilities, and have witnessed the grandest pageant, I presume, that has appeared in 
London for many years.* Longstreetf and I had a splendid chance of seeing the 
prince and princess. The latter persona-ge is very handsome and graceful. We have 
been to see the National Gallery of paintings, the Zoological Gardens, the Whitehall 
Parliament House, Richmond, and other places tedious to mention. You know I do 
not enjoy sight-seeing much, but my interest has been kept alive here all the time, 
everything is so grand and so hoary with antiquity. ... 1 have been with Mr. 
Mason a good deal. He' is very popular here. Mr. Adams, the United States Min- 
ister, has complained that he was only treated with civility, while Mr. Mason was 
treated with cordiality. I have met several members of Parliament. They seem very 
anxious to learn all about our affairs, of which they are becoming much better in- 
formed. I dine Tuesday next with Hon. Mr. and Mrs. Pococke (parliamentary folks). 
I expect to meet some of the rulers there, as the invitation was very ceremonious. 
The dress of a gentleman at these dinners is a full suit of black, white kid gloves, and 
white cravat. 

On the next day, the 20th of March, Mr. Lamar sent to Mr. Benjamin 
the following dispatch: 

London, March 20, 1863. 
Hon. J. P. Benjamin, Secretary of State, Confederate States of America, 

Sir: Learning that Mr. Beverly Tucker will start for Richmond to-morrow, I seize 
the occasion to send you a few notes which may possibly be of interest. Though 

* Manifestly in honor of the marriage of the Prince of Wales, which took place on the 10th of 
March, 1863. 

+ His wife's young nephew, whom he took with him. 


1 have been in London but a little more than two weeks, I have had, through the 
kindness of Mr. Mason, unexpected opportunities of obtaining information in regard 
to the state of puplic opinion here and throughout Europe touching American affairs. 
In this country the leading contestants for power in both parties, Conservatives and 
Whigs, supported by the great body of their res^peclive adherents, are favorable to the 
success of the South. Many causes, however, operate to prevent this paitiality from 
yielding any practical result. Not only the government party, but even the Conserv- 
ative leaders, are exceedingly timid in regard to any movement which might give 
umbrage to the United States. They seem to consider that a war with that country 
would be the greatest calamity that could befall Great Britain ; and they have the im- 
pression that the United States would not regret the occurrence of a contingency 
which would justify them in declaring war. This belief has made a deep impression 
upon the mind of England, and though it has increased the willingness to witness the 
dismemberment of a hostile power and diffused in a wider circle the sympathy for 
the South, yet it has also had a powerful influence in holding the government to the 
policy of " neutrality " (so called) in which it has taken refuge. 

Another cause lies in the peculiar composition of parties in both Houses of Parlia- 
ment. You are aware that neither of the two great parties have such a working ma- 
jority as will insure their continuance in power. The Whigs can at any moment be 
ousted, but are equally able, in turn, to eject their successors. This gives to the Rad- 
icals, under Bright and others, the balance of power. Although weak in numbers (in 
Parliament), this last-named party has become necessary to the maintenance of either 
party in power. At least their united opposition would be fatal to any government 
which might be organized. These men are the warm partisans of the United States, 
and have of late made a series of striking demonstrations by public meetings, speeches, 
etc. It is well understood, so I am told, that United States gold has been freely used 
in getting up these spectacles; and although they have been participated in by but 
few men of any note or consideration, yet they have been sufficiently formidable to 
exercise a powerful influence upon the policy of both the leading parties. It was this 
that elicited Lord Derby's remarkable speech. If the nation were divided solely upon 
the American question, the overwhelming force of public opinion would be on the 
side of the South ; but inasmuch as it is an issue subordinate to many questions, both 
of domestic and foreign policy, and the two parties contesting for power are nearly 
equal in strength, the Radicals really control the action of the government in regard 
to American affairs. I do not see any causes now at work to change this state of 
things. At the same time no one can anticipate the policy of the government on 
this subject. The events of a day may reverse it entirely, as the following fact will 

These abrupt changes are brought about by a cause which it is difiicult for Amer- 
ican statesmen to appreciate. The nations of Europe constitute a federative league, 
a commonwealth of nations which, though it has no central head, is so intimate and 
elaborate as to subject the action, and sometimes even the internal affairs, of each to 
surveillance and intervention on the part of all the others. No government, therefore, 
can enter upon a policy exclusively its own; and its action in reference to foreign 
matters is consequently liable to constant modification. Lord Palmerston is far 

*In cipher in the original. 

States the declaration of.a leading member of the Government party (the intimate, confidential 

friend of Lord P,) that the Confederacy M^onld he recognized in a few 

,, . ^ ._ , days and that lie woiild be the appointed Minister to the Confederate 

My informant (name ^^\ . . . ..-,.. ■ - ..^ - - i m^- ^ , , 

^.■^1 States of America. All the names given m the original. This took place 

^}^ '' 9 - jj^ September last. Only a few days after, the same distinguished per- 

sonage said to my infonnant: "The game is lip. VV^e have to take an- 
other tack." 


more deeply engrossed with the conferences, jealousies, and rivalries between the 
leading powers of Europe than with the fate of constitutional government in America. 
To thwart Louis Napoleon's policy in Greece, or to prevent his ascendency in Euro- 
pean affairs, is of far greater importance than to pursue any policy at all with refer- 
ence to America, which is considered on both sides of the Potomac an alien in Euro- 
pean politics. In my opinion whenever this government has entertained the propo- 
sition of recognizing the Southern Confedeiacy, it was a result due to influences brought 
to bear in Europe. 

Notwithstanding the present troubled state of German politics, I am satisfied that 
much service to our cause would be done by your sending a commissioner to the Gov- 
ernments of Austria and Prussia. An intelligent gentleman residing in Berlin has as- 
sured me that the government and the army are extremely favorable to the cause of 
the South, and that the success of the South is not more sincerely desired at any other 
court than that of Austria; and the same feeling exists among the higher classes of 
that nation. Under proper management these two German courts would at least 
throw the weight of their favor upon any movement which might be inaugurated 
elsewhere in behalf of Southern recognition. An additional reason for having a com- 
missioner at these courts may be found in the fact that the United States Government 
has its agents throughout Germany enlisting " laborers " to take the place of those who 
are gone into the army. They profess that they only want them for this purpose. 
They give a free passage with promise of high pay on their arrival in America. They 
have been successful in finding men willing to emigrate on these favorable terms; and, 
as you know, a great number of them have enlisted in the United States army. This, 
with other causes, has made the lower and a large majority of the middle classes of 
Germany warm partisans of the North. The Government of the United States has 
made strong efforts to control public opinion there, many of the leading newspapers 
being in its pay. 

I am here waiting for Mr. Fearn, but have sought in various quarters information 
respecting the probable success of my mission to Russia; and am glad to say that 
whilst the Government of Russia is inclined to favor the cause of the United States, 
there does not exist any feeling of hostility toward the South. I have some reason to 
think, from remarks made by a member of the Russian Legation here, that when the 
true nature and causes of the present war shall have been made known, and espe- 
cially when the emperor is made to see that it is not a rebellion, but a lawful asser- 
tion of sovereignty, we may reasonably expect his more active cooperation with the 
views of the French Emperor. There is no party in Russia absolutely hostile to the 
South. The avidity with which the Confederate loan has been taken up, both here 
and on the Continent, has caused great rejoicing among our friends; and it is claimed 
by them to be a financial recognition of the Confederacy. 

I am your obedient servant, L. Q. C. Lamar. 

Twenty-four years later (in 1887^ Mr. Lamar was interviewed by 
Col. Donn Piatt in respect to his knowledge of the views of the French 
Court at this important juncture, and said: 

I know very well that Louis Napoleon was not only in favor of interfering in our 
behalf, but warmly so. He received me kindly, and spoke with the utmost frankness 
upon the subject. There were two obstacles in his way. One was the fact of our 
slaveholding, that would make intervention in our behalf unpopular among the mass- 
es of the French people. The other was the need of a naval power like England or 
Russia to join in the movement. The Count de Morney, the emperor's confidential 
adviser, opened his mind to me yet more freely, and gave assurances that made us hope 
with reason for the intervention of the Imperial Government of France. On one oc- 
casion I was shown a note from the emperor, in which he gave a positive order that, 


had it not been revoked,, would have hrought on the intervention which we so ear- 
nestly sought. 

As the struggle went on in its first stage, when the Confederate cause had so many 
great victories to its credit, the emperor was induced to believe that we could win 
without outside assistance. When the tide began to turn through the exhaustion of 
our resources, the emperor became deeply interested, so that there was more danger 
to the Federal Government when we were losing than when we were successful. At 
any time before the cause grew utterly desperate the way was open to an alliance 
with France. So, had Hood defeated Thomas, and won his way to the Ohio, it would 
have had an appreciative influence in bringing about intervention. 

The motive for this course on the part of the emperor was not altogether a senti- 

In the blockade of the Southern ports France suffered as England suffered, only in 
a less degree, from a cotton famine. Perhaps the French Government felt it more 
deeply than the English, because in France the laboring classes had been taught and 
trained to look to the government for subsistence. When this failed the government 
was imperiled. Now, President Lincoln's navy had not only established a blockade, 
but his friends in Congress had enacted a high protective tariff that w«s a threat of an 
irritating sort at the very time when Mr. Seward was courting favors from European 
governments ; and when the news spread abroad that the Government of the North, 
failing to perfect its blockade, was sinking ships loaded with stone in the channels, so 
as to destroy our harbors, the indignation of the European press was very great. 

In July Mr. Lamar received from the Secretary of State a dispatch, 

inforraing him that the Confederate Senate had refused to confirm his 

appointment as Commissioner, and giving the reasons therefor, to which 

he replied as follows: 

London, July 22, 1863. 

Hon. J. P. Benjamin, Secretary of State, Confederate States of America, 

Sir : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 2, advising 
me that, the Senate having failed to ratify my nomination as Commissioner to Rus- 
sia, the President desires that I consider the official information of the fact as termi- 
nating my mission. I have to thank you for the regret you express, on the part of 
the President and yourself, at this decision of the Senate; but, while I cannot free ray- 
self altogether from a feeling of disappointment in the expectation of finding a career 
of usefulness, it is my duty to state that the reasons which you inform me actuated 
the Senate are fully confirmed by my own observations of the condiiiqns of European 
politics. Shortly after my arrival here I became convinced that the state of things 
supposed to promise useful results from diplomatic representations at the court of St. 
Petersburg had been essentially altered. Not only did there appear no evidence that 
the influence of France was in the ascendant in the councils of Bussia, but it was very 
apparent that a growing coldness existed between the two governments, caused by 
the attitude which the French Government had assumed in relation to Poland. The 
progress of the insurrection, and the increasing manifestation of French sympathy with 
its success, have still farther widened the breach, until at present all Europe is greatly 
alarmed at the imminent risk of a hostile collision of the two empires. 

These considerations induced me, after frequent consultation with Messrs. Mason 
and Slidell, to delay my departure for my post; and, as latterly the prospect of a res- 
toration of cordial relations became more remote, I had almost reached the determi- 
nation of recommending to you that I should be released from my duties, or, at least, 
that they should be directed to another field. Although it could not be expected that 


the Government of Austria or Prussia would be prepared to take the initiative in rec- 
ognition, there was yet good reason to believe that either or both these powers could 
be so far influenced as to lend their moral weight to the eflbrts which are made in 
England and France. I cannot say that the grounds for this belief were sufliciently 
specific to be urged successfully against the decision of the Senate, and I acquiesce in 
it the more readily since, in one respect at least, it anticipates by a few days the con- 
clusion that I was about to communicate to you. I trust, however, that you will not 
consider me as going out of my way when I urge that the principle which has gov- 
erned this decision will not be extended to the withdrawal of diplomatic representa- 
tion at London and Paris, as the proceeding in the House of Representatives and the 
tone of the press lead me to apprehend. The presence of these gentlemen at their 
respective posts is imperiously demanded by exigences of the public service, even 
though the main object of their mission may not for some time to come be carried 
out against the prejudiced obstinacy of the English Foreign Office, or the languor 
which has recently characterized the imperial policy on American affairs. 

In terminating my official relations with your department, permit me to express 
the hope that my brief residence in Europe has not been wholly fruitless. In the en- 
deavor to secure for my mission a favorable reception at St. Petersburg, I have neces- 
sarily made the acquaintance of many persons in high official and social position, as 
well in England as in France. Opportunities for putting to work influences in our 
favor have not been wanting, and I have not knowingly neglected any that have pre- 
sented themselves. 

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

L. Q. C. Lamae. 

Mr. Lamar's mission being thus abruptly terminated, he began at 
once to consider his return to the Confederacy, although still not en- 
tirely recovered from his last illness. His left leg was still disabled 
partially. On the 1st of August he wrote to his wife: 

If nothing prevents, I start home on the 1st of September. ... If you were 
here, I would remain much longer, as it is necessary for my health. But I suppose it 
is my duty to go home and help the fighting. I only wish that our people knew liow 
they are admired all over Europe. It would nerve their souls to go through with the in- 
creasing troubles that threaten them. There are many Confederates here— too many, 
indeed, of those who ought to be at home fighting. ... If I should be captured 
by the Federals, do not be alarmed. They will only place me in confinement, if they 
do that. Well, I can stand anything that they can inflict. They can't break my spirit, 
and I will be restored to you sometime or other. 

It so happens that all of the documents given above are dated from 
London, but Mr. Lamar spent much of his time at Paris as well. There 
he saw much of the French court, and did quite the same work which 
he did in London. He acquired some familiarity with the French 
tongue, and took lessons in the art of fencing. 

It was at one of the semiofficial dinners alluded to in the foregoing 
correspondence that he met Mr. Thackeray. This distinguished gen- 
tleman seems to have taken quite a fancy to the " rebel colonel." On 
one occasion Mr. Lamar was telling a party of gentlemen about a visit 
that he had made to the church of the great Baptist minister, Mr. Spur- 
geon, and of the eloquent sermon which he had heard. Mr. Thackeray 


was a member of the Established Church, and had never heard Mr. 
Spurgeon. He expressed -disbelief in his powers, and said that he be- 
lieved him to be overrated. Whereupon Mr. Lamar undertook to re- 
hearse the sermon which he had heard; and, doing so with the remark- 
able faculty which he had for reproducing the longest speeches or 
sermons with the greatest fidelity, if only they had interested him, and 
with his animated and impressive manner, he delighted Mr. Thackeray 
very much; "but," said he, "Mr. Lamar, that is your sermon, and not 
Spurgeon's. I believe that you can beat him preaching." 

During his stay in England Col. Lamar witnessed a scene in the 
House of Commons, which he afterwards described in a literary address, 
to illustrate the value of courage and perseverance in the face of formi- 
dable difficulties. The incident is narrated in his own words: 

Many years ago a singular scene was enacted in the English House of Commons. 
A very important subject was under discussion, and a young member who had never 
claimed the attention of the House before arose to address them upon it. His style of 
oratory ill accorded with the notion of that exacting assembly. His swelling and pre- 
tentious periods, his bizarre and unique diction, resembling the rich but 'fantastic mo- 
saic of Oriental halls, excited their ridicule, and his voice was drowned by groans and 
hoots, hisses, and tumultuous cries of " Down ! sit down ! " from every part of the floor. 
For a time the unfortunate speaker struggled resolutely with this overwhelming deris- 
ion ; but finally, when his voice was completely lost in the storm, he seized upon a 
momentary lull to exclaim : " I have many a time encountered great difficulties, and 
have overcome them ; obstacles far greater than this have presented themselves before 
me, and I have removed them. I yield to you now ; I relinquish the floor, but mark 
my words: the time shall yet come when this House shall hear me." 

Years afterwards, in 1863, one of those weighty questions which constitute epochs in 
the political history of England arose. The public mind was agitated to its very 
depths, and the House of Commons filled the eyes of the statesmen of the world. I 
was present when the great debate occurred. The hall was crowded to suffocation. 
Thousands turned back disappointed irom the unenterable doors. The beauty and 
the wit, the nobility and the intellect, of the world were there — either as participants . 
or as witnesses. For years no such assembly had gathered, even in that place of great 
assemblages. As the eye toiled over the imposing throng the mind was irresistibly led 
back to that other scene, so graphically described by Macaulay, where the fiery Burke 
hurled the denunciation of his country at Hastings ; and that tremendous pageant 
seemed to have arisen into a second existence. Again was England faced by an al- 
most unsupported man; but this man was the herald and champion, not the victim, 
of a new order of things. The thrilling interest of the occasion was intensified by his 
well-known history, for this was the hissed and derided speaker of years before. So 
far from yielding to that crushing defeat, he had toiled on yet more earnestly. He 
had studied the temper and measured the mind of that peculiar body. He had re- 
formed his style of expression ; he had treasured up large stores of knowledge, both 
of men and things ; and now he arises to redeem, in the face of the breathless' world, 
the pledge of his early manhood. That redemption was complete. His voice rolled 
over the mighty throng, soft as the tones of a harp swept by an angel's hand, and as 
irresistible as the arm of Michael. The breath which fluttered from thousands of 
parted lips was checked lest an accent be lost, and the echoes which fell from the 
statued galleries were buried in thousands of trembling hearts. He concluded, and 
the shout which arose from the reeling hall swept over the tumult of London like a 


psean of old Rome. He had plucked his laurels from the grasp of an opposing nation, 
and with them had bound, in a brotherhood of immortal renown, the might of an 
unconquerable resolution and the name of Benjamin Disraeli. 

Mr. Lamar's departure for the Confederacy was delayed until about 
the 1st of December. Meanwhile the following extract is given from a 
contemporary newspaper, as illustrative of his method of speaking to 
the people of England about the interests of the South. He had run. 
over from Paris. 


Col. L. Q. C. Lamar, who was recently on a visit to his English friends, was enter- 
tained at one of those agricultural dinners at which the noblemen who best represent 
that interest and the better order of formers mingle in convivial intercourse, and from, 
whom emanate those real English opinions that best express the sense of the country 
in its conservative views. Mr. Lamar was invited to partake of the festivities at the 
annual dinner of the Chertsy Agricultural Societj', on the 16th of November, at which. 
Mr. W. S. Lindsay presided. On Mr. Lamar's health being proposed, he addressed 
the meeting in a speech in which full justice was done to the cause of the South: 

With a full and distinct understanding of the diversity of opinion that existed be- 
tween his hearers and himself as to some of the institutions to which he referred, he 
asserted in the face of that company, and before the world, that the statements which 
had been made against the South were calumnious and untrue; and that the white 
race in the South had been the guardians, the protectors, the benefactors of the black 
man; that they had elevated him in the scale of rational existence, and that they had 
Christianized him to a state to which he has never before attained. He only desired 
Englishmen to listen not to opinions, nor to misrepresentations, but to facts. When 
the American Continent was discovered and occupied by the European race, that 
race came into contact with two savage races. One was the noble Indian race, the 
ancient occupiers of the continent, and the highest type of f avage manhood ; the other 
was a race brought there not by the agency of the Southern people, but by agencies 
which he would not then discuss. It was the African race, which all philosophers 
and historians pronounce to be the lowest type of natural man. It was a race without 
a God, without rational ideas, cannibals, not attaining even to the civilization of the 
fig leaf. [" Hear ! " and a laugh.] 

What had been the history of the two races he had described? The Indian, the 
noble race, incapable of domestic life, incapable of anything but its wild and nomadic 
existence, had been driven back into continually narrowing circles, witli constantly 
diminishing means of subsistence, and was in damger of complete extinction by the 
advancing wave of civilization. But the other race, the negro, with all its foulness 
and barbarity, being naturally a servile race, had become domesticated ; and, in spite 
of the institution of slavery if they pleased, but still with slavery, had risen higher 
and higher in the rational scale, until now it furnished heroes and heroines for modern 
romances, themes for modern songs, and had even been invited by some statesmen 
within the charmed circle of social and political equality. [" Hear ! hear ! "] An insti- 
tution that has done so much for that race must be considered carefully.. , He might be 
told that, having brought the slave up to that point, the South owed it to Christendom 
to emancipate him. [" Hear ! "] In answer he would refer to the opinions c^ British, 
statesmen, British travelers, and British philosophers, who were united in the opinion 
that the emancipation of that race at this time, and especially in the manner proposed 
by the rulers of the North, would be a curse to both races. [" Hear! "] , 

But he could safely say that so many and so great were the boons which (he South 


had already conferred on the negro race, that the world had ample guaranty that if 
the time should ever come for the South to believe that liberty would be a boon, and 
not a curse, then she would be prepared to confer that boon upon them. [Cheers.] 
And he might add that if that time should ever come, they would be capable of as- 
serting their own claims; and the whites could not, if they would, withhold the boon. 
[" Hear! hear! "] Misrepresentation had been constantly made to the English peo- 
ple upon the subject, and it had been said that in the South the negro was treated 
only as property, and was deprived of all the rights of human beings. This he pro- 
nounced false. The laws of every Southern State, in short, regarded the negro as a 
man, threw around him the guarantees of personal security and legal protection, and 
allowed him as much personal liberty as he is capable of enjoying in his present in- 
tellectual and moral condition. They all awarded the penalty of death for the mur- 
der of a slave, and imprisonment in the penitentiary was the punishment for maim- 
ing. [" Hear! "] 

Eeturning at last to the Confederacy, Mr. Lamar pursued a different 
route from that by which he went. He sailed first from Liverpool to 
Halifax, by the "Asia." From Halifax he went to Hamilton, on the 
island of Bermuda; and thence he took the "Ceres," to run the block- 
ade into Wilmington, N. C. In these voyages he was accompanied by 
Mr. Walker Fearn, his former Secretary, and by Mr. Charles A. L. La- 
mar, his cousin. As the "Ceres'' was nearing the Carolina coast she 
was sighted and pursued by a Federal ship, and in her flight was 
stranded. The vessel had to be abandoned, and recourse had to boats. 
Mr. Lamar was enabled to save but little of his luggage, losing nearly 
all the effects he was endeavoring to bring to his family; and what he 
saved was drenched with sea water. However, he got in safely. 

From the 9th to the 31st of January, 1864, he was in Eichmond, hav- 
ing his accounts audited. 

On the 15th of March he made at Milledgeville his great speech on 
" The State of the Country." Before the people was not only the ques- 
tion of the foreign relations of the Confederacy, but also a question of 
the gravest moment in regard to its internal affairs. The government 
had, as a war measure, suspended the use of the writ of habeas corpus^ 
Gov. Brown, of Georgia, in a message to the State Legislature, had in- 
veighed in the severest terms against this step. Mr. Lamar's Milledge- 
ville speech, therefore, dealt with the diplomatic question, and then 
passed to a defense of the action of the government on the habeas 
corpus. A contemporary Milledgeville newspaper said of it that 

There was something peculiarly impressive in the circumstances under which this 
distinguished son of Georgia appeared, to address these burning words of counsel to 
our people. He was near the spot of his birth, and stood in the very spot where his 
honored father had received the highest judicial functions known to our laws. These 
influences seemed to give inspiration to his powers, and he held his large auditory 
spellbound for nearly two hours. 

Substantially the same speech Mr. Lamar made again at Columbus, 
Ga., about the 20th of March. Afterwards, a speech by Vice President 


Stephens, taking the same position as Gov. Brown, and defending his 
message, having appeared, Mr. Lamar repeated his Milledgeville ad- 
dress at Atlanta on the 14th of April, with such alterations as were nec- 
essary to answer Mr. Stephens, as well as Gov. Brown. It is the Atlanta 
speech which is given in the Appendix.* 

The address was received with the greatest enthusiasm. The news- 
papers circulated it widely, and commented upon it freely. The Colum- 
bus Enquirer, of the 25th of March, said: 

It has long been the fashion of our public speakers in this country to devote them- 
selves in their harangues as much to the amusement of fools as to the edification of 
men of sense. The first office is that of a demagogue ; the last, that of the statesman ; 
and the Hon. L. Q. C. Lamar is certainly no demagogue. Hi's observations in Europe 
seem to have been very general, or, perhaps more properly to speak, generally minute ; 
and the result, as related in the flowing sentences of his own eloquent style, was well 
<alculated to disabuse the Southern mind of much of the bitter prejudice that has been 
rankling in it for two years past against Great Britain. The address was well calcu- 
lated to send his hearers home happy. It was better calculated still to give moral 
atamina to the confidence which is springing up anew in the hearts of our people at 
home in our capacity to ultimately triumph; and, best of all, it was calculated to send 
along the line of battle arrayed under the Confederate flag at the front a thrill of ex- 
ulting joy, the exhibition of which must redouble the strength of our own invincible 
hosts, and rapidly enhance the demoralization of the foe. 

We predict [said the Atlanta paper] that new luster has been added to the his- 
toric name of Lamar by the grand effort spoken of. The speech was one of the ablest 
and most effective we have ever heard, and never have we seen an audience carried 
so irresistibly with every conclusion of the speaker, as was the case on this occasion. 

Mr. Lamar [said the Milledgeville paper] addressed himself to the task of under- 
mining the ingenious defense of Gov. Brown's position contained in that speech (of 
Mr. Stephens'). That he performs the work undertaken with thorough and perfect 
success, the reader shall see in a day or two. He does it, too, in such a manner that 
we are left in doubt whether most to admire the massive power of his argument or 
the excellent temper in which it is set forth. 

Numerous other papers eulogized, in similar strain. 

During the year 1864, owing to his infirm health, Mr. Lamar was not 
in the military service; and he passed his time in Georgia, between the 
towns of Oxford and Macon. 

At this period he was called to mourn the death of his elder, and only 
surviving, brother — Thompson B., colonel of the Fifth Florida, who 
was killed in battle near Petersburg. And this brother was one whom 
to mourn was to mourn indeed. A braver man or nobler gentleman, it 
was universally said, did not live. He was modest by nature, a lover of 
justice, impartial, a shrewd observer, highly cultvated in mind, liberal 
and kind in feeling, and possessed of the greatest probity of character; 

* Appendix, No. 7. 


he would have adorned any station. He commanded a company in the 
First Florida, at Pensacola; was made lieutenant colonel of the Fifth, 
and went with it to Virginia; was wounded at Sharpsburg (Antietam) 
while gallantly rescuing with his own hands the standard of his regi- 
ment; served as adjutant to Gen. Joseph E. Johnston; and was made 
colonel of the Fifth, in which station be fell, universally lamented. 

On the 1st of December Mr. Lamar had returned to Richmond. He 
was at once appointed Judge Advocate of the military court in the 
Third Army Corps (A. P. Hill's), with the rank of Colonel of Cavalry. 
The work of this office was arduous, and was, as he wrote, " the most 
unpleasant duty I ever had to perform in my life." In the discharge 
of its functions he manifested "a kind heart, which would yield to noth- 
ing save a sense of duty." 

It was about the 20th of January, 1865, that, at their special invita- 
tion, he made a speech in the lines to Harris' Brigade, which included 
his old regiment. "Never," writes Gen. Harris, "shall I forget that 
scene: the earnest faces and torn and tattered uniforms of officers and 
men as shown by the flickering torchlights, the rattle of the musketry 
on the skirmish line, the heavy detonation of the enemy's constant ar- 
tillery fire, the eloquent and burning words of the speaker, and the wild 
cheers of the auditors, stirred to the innermost depths of their hearts by 
his patriotic words." He stood on a real stump, with the ragged veter- 
ans of Lee huddled close about him. Attracted by the cheering, the 
Federals shot at the noise. Col. Lamar went on with his speech, duck- 
ing his head to the right or the left as the bullets whizzed close by him. 
Finally the firing became so heavy, continuous, and accurate, making 
the splinters fly from the stump he was on, that he concluded his 
speech with this remark: " Those Yankees must have owl's eyes." 

However, hopes fail. The speeches, the cheers, and the fighting came 
alike to naught; and soon the dramatic interview at Appomattox ended 
all. On the morning of the evacuation of Petersburg (April 3), a time 
when few men were unselfish enough to think of others. Col. Lamar 
went with his purse to a brother officer, and forced him to share it. 
When the surrender had taken place a knot of officers were bidding 
each other farewell. One of them spoke of leaving the country, and 
asked CoL Lamar what he proposed to do. With trembling voice and 
tears unrestrained (for' it was a day when strong men wept without 
shame), he said: "I shall stay with my people, and share their fate. I 
feel it to be my duty to devote my life to the alleviation, so far as in my 
power lies, of the sufferings this day's disaster will entail upon them." 

The following letter tells its own story : 

Appomattox 0. H., Va., April 11, 1865. 

Dear Brother: I send this letter to you by Col. Lamar, of Mississippi, with whom we 
served in Congress. I found him here in Lee's army, and he was included in the sur- 
render. He is about starting home via Memphis, and will want to get out from that 


point. I hope you will afford him every proper fecility. We know him well enough to 
know he that will ahuse no privilege extended to him. I only left home a week ago 
last night. I stayed with Gen. Grant last night, ahout seventeen miles from here, and 
arrived here about noon. The formal laying down of arms will take place this p.m. 
I shall start on my return for City Point to-morrow morning. All well at home when 

Very truly yours, etc. E. B. Washbubne. 

Maj. Gen. C. C. Washbubne, Memphis, Tenn. 

Col. Lamar did not avail himself of Gen. Washburne's letter, how- 
ever, but remained in Eichmond several weeks before setting out upon 
his return to Mississippi. 


Southern Sacrifices and Condition — Gen. Walthall — Settles at Coffeeville — Conditions 
of Law Practice— Abstains from Politics — B. N. Harrison — C. 0. Clay — Southern 
Sufferings — Correspondence— Accepts Professorship of Metaphysics— Made Law 
Professor — Character and Methods as a Professor — Eesigns Professorship — Address 
at University— Death of Judge Longstreet — Address at Emory College — Agricul- 
tural Address— Lee Letter — Letters to Eeemelin— U. S. Marshal Pierce — Debate 
with Alcorn at Holly Springs. 

THE surrender of Gen. Lee at Appomattox on the 9th of April was 
followed by that of Gen. Johnston to Gen. Sherman on the 26th 
at Ealeigh, and by that of Gen. Dick Taylor to Canby at Citronelle, 
Ala., on the 4th of May; so that when Col. Lamar started home from 
Richmond, as he did about the 20th of May, the war was ended. 

After the lapse of three decades the hopes and fears of that exciting 
period are now but fading memories. The fierce passions and hot ha^ 
treds engendered by the long struggle for political supremacy, and by 
the sterner issues of the battlefield, have passed away; and we may now 
contemplate this eventful episode in our national history with a philo- 
sophical and dispassionate calmness, which was not possible then. 

Regarded in its broadest and most far-reaching results, the late Civil 
War can hardly be considered as a national, or even a sectional disas- 
ter- Hard as it bore upon the South especially, and much as it cost 
the whole nation in treasure, in passion, in tears, in blood, it would still 
seem that, as the world's history goes, the losses and sufferings endured 
were not an extravagant price to pay for the results achieved; for the 
assurance of an indestructible Union which promises untold national 
glory and human happiness for the future, and incidentally for the ex- 
tirpation of the deplorable cancer of slavery. The great calamity was 
farther back. It consisted in the existence of those conditions which 
rendered possible the war and the controversies out of which it grew; 
in the failure of the constitution to fix more clearly the status of the 
slave population, the relations of the States to the Union, those of the 
States to the Territories; and especially in the existence of those mutual 
jealousies at the time of the formation of the constitution, which made 
indefiniteness in that instrument apparently expedient, and "compro- 
mises" imperative. 

But however we may now regard these matters, then, and to the South- 
ern people who had staked all and lost all, appeared no solace. From the 
Potomac to the Rio Grande the universal and despairing thought was: 
"Vce vicfis!" To them the memory of their happy and glorious past in 



the Union had become a fountain of Mara. The present was a horror, 
and the future held little hope. Conquest is not conversion ; and still, 
in their view, those principles which waited upon the formation of the 
Federal compact, and but for the recognition of which that compact 
would never have been made, had been betrayed; and the treachery had 
been crowned by the infamies of invasion in the name of liberty, and 
of subjugation in the names of equality and fraternity. During the 
long aud bitter struggle for tlie principles which they cherished, a 
struggle in which they believed themselves to have acted always on the 
defensive, they had suffered so bravely and so much. The very women 
and children at home had gone hungry and ill-clad; all domestic happi- 
ness had been surrendered for years; all the able-bodied men from six- 
teeD to sixty had been sent away to the hardships and dangers of the 
battlefields; all profitable industries had been renounced; private for- 
tunes had been poured into the army chest; the very fields, for want of 
markets for their products, had been abandoned and desolated; the ter- 
rors of invading hosts had been endured; the homes and the cities had 
been given up to pillage and the torch; the names of a thousand bloody 
fields had been written upon their stricken hearts with indelible 
tears; in every household for years had been borne the daily torturing 
dread — a dread to be displaced only by the crowning sorrow of the 
fact — of the loss of the bravest and best beloved; the throne of the om- 
nipotent' God had been hourly besieged with groans and prayers— and 
all to what end? To this: that not only the humiliation of conquest 
awaited them, the loss of fortune and of honorable estate in the coun- 
cils of nations, but also that their honor was challenged; and while 
the decision of the sword, which so sternly settles facts, never yet in 
truth settled a question of right and wrong, either political or moral, 
•they experienced the injustice that their failure to maintain their cause 
by the sword brought them under the imputation that they were "reb- 
els" and "traitors." 

Perhaps no conquered people ever suffered so much; because no other 
people ever were conquered who had such lofty conceptions of personal 
and national liberty. In England a thousand years of sturdy contests 
had developed the highest ideals of political rights which the world 
had ever known. These ideals, denied to ns in practical application by 
the British Crown, had pxdduced our glorious revolution of '76. They 
had been embodied in the Federal Constitution, and our national life 
for ninety years had infused them in their largest and highest develop- 
ment into the lifeblood of every thoughtful American. In the march 
of American political progress Southern statesmen had been always in 
the van. It was a peculiar phase of Southern intellectual life that all 
ambitions and all higher culture led to statesmanship and to the polit- 
ical career. The very women were skilled in statecraft. And thus it 



was that when the South fell, and its theories of the political structure 
of the government and of the rights of the citizens of the several States 
were denied without appeal and by the armed hand, the Southern peo- 
ple felt that they had been stricken in the very citadel of their intel- 
lectual and political lives — as if the flower of their own labors, and of 
those of their fathers for centuries, had been trampled into the dust. 

The country, moreover, was utterly impoverished. Not only were the 
slaves freed, but also land values were enormously reduced. The rail- 
roads had been torn up to a great extent, and were without rolling stock. 
Many of the cities were in ruins, and a large proportion of the dwellings 
both in town and country were destroyed; no cotton crops had been 
made for three years; all movables had been consumed by the war — 
farming utensils, wagons, and live stock. At one sweep the eleven 
Southern States, with a free population of five millions, had lost over 
two thousand millions of value; and of this immense loss nineteen hun- 
dred millions had fallen upon the six States of South Carolina, Geor- 
gia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. Out of this wreck 
were to be met the debts incurred during the period of great prosperity, 
with five years' accumulation of interest. It was ruin, apparently irre- 
trievable and hopeless. 

Everything was to buy. Clothing was scarce, and so was food. Even 
the floors of the dwelling houses had been stripped, the carpets having 
been used in lieu of blankets; and many families of refinement and for- 
mer wealth were without the commonest articles of household and table 
furniture. The grim specter of poverty sat at their firesides, and con- 
fronted them at table. 

When Mr. Lamar left Richmond on his return home he had recovered 
to some extent from the shock of the downfall of the Confede"racy, and 
was in a frame of mind not at all morbid. He expressed himself as 
being hopeful of early pacification and a happy future for the South. 

On his trip he traveled over part of the route with Gen. E. C. Wal- 
thall; and this meeting laid the foundation for a friendship which en- 
dured through his life, and was of a character so firm and true as to be- 
come almost proverbial in Mississippi. The relation between these 
men was so intimate, so cordial, so generous, and so helpful to each as 
to make indispensable here a notice of this friend. 

Gen. Walthall was born in Richmond, Va., April 4, 1831. He was 
brought to Mississippi while still young, and was educated at the same 
celebrated high school attended by Mott and by Autrey — St. Thomas' 
Hall, in Holly Springs. Admitted to the bar, he settled in CofPeeville, 
and there offered for practice. He was early elected District Attorney 
(in 1856), and discharged the duties of that ofiice with great success 
and credit. He was reelected, but resigned and entered the Confeder- 


ate army as a lieutenant of the Fifteenth Mississippi Eegiment, in 
1861. His gallantry and military skill were so conspicuous that he was 
rapidly promoted. Made lieutenant colonel of his regiment in July, 
1861, he commanded it at Fishing Creek. In the spring of 1862 he was 
made colonel of the Twenty-ninth, and in December of the same year 
brigadier general. In this capacity he achieved a brilliant reputation, 
and was made a major general in the Army of the West in 1864. At 
the battle of Missionary Eidge he served with great distinction. After 
the terrible defeat at Franklin he and Gen. Forrest " added greatly to 
their laurels. Forming the rear guard of the army, they protected it 
against the attack of the victors until a secure position was reached." 
Gen. J. E. Johnston said of him that, "if the Confederate War had 
lasted two years longer. Gen. Walthall would have risen to the com- 
mand of all the Confederate armies." He served after the war four 
times as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. He re- 
moved to Grenada in. 1871. In 1885 he was appointed to succeed Mr. 
Lamar in the Senate, and was elected to that office by the Legislature 
in 1886; was reelected in 1888 without a dissenting vote, and again in 
1892 without being a candidate for the office. As a Senator his course 
has been marked by great firmness, wisdom, and conservatism. His 
unbending integrity, purity of morals and of life, high sense of honor 
and chivalric nature, accessibility, courtesy, vivacity, and personal mag- 
netism have all united to make him a favorite of the people of Missis- 
sippi. Mr. Lamar admired and loved him exceedingly, and throughout 
all of his life, from this time forth, found in him an unfailing support 
for both mind and soul. In a letter of 1868 he wrote to Gen. Walthall: 
"Do you know that but for you I could not keep up? I would have 
given up long ago, and never made an effort." 

Mr. Lamar passed a few months at Oxford with the Longstreets. 
About the 1st of September, 1865, after some yearnings for a wider 
and more attractive field in the city of Memphis, he concluded a part- 
nership with Gen. Walthall for a practice in Cofifeeville, and by the last 
of the month he had established himself and his family in that village. 
Here he led an uneventful life for a year, laboring at his profession. 

At this period, and for some years after, Col. Lamar's belief was that 
Tiis political career was over. Not only was he disfranchised and pro- 
scribed, but also the fate of the Confederacy and the outcome of the 
movement for secession weighed heavily upon him. By nature dis- 
trustful of his own powers — a fact which attracted frequent observation 
when he was a younger man — he now considered himself discredited as 
a public leader. In the latter part of 1870, anticipating that he would 
be forced to enter xipon a political discussion, he sketched the outline 
of a speech, from which the following extriact is taken: 


It is needless for me, my fellow-citizens, to assure you of the reluctance with which 
I enter upon a discussion of this character. You too well know the care with which 
I have for now many years abstained from any participation in political matters; and 
this abstinence has been the effect not of any disgust for such a career, but of a con- 
viction of duty. When a nation has just emerged from the throes of a great civil 
warfare, where section was arrayed against section, class against class, two things are 
to be done: First, the work of reconstruction is to be effected; Secondly, a willingness 
for the proper acceptance of the issue's decision is to be created. The former is the 
labor of the victor, and of the victor alone; it is to be accomplished by the prescience 
of wisdom and the magnanimity of justice, by wise legislation leading to strong con- 
stitutional guarantees. The latter is the work of the vanquished, and can be effected 
only by a zealous advocacy of compromise measures. To none of these things can 
one who has been an ardent secessionist lay his hands actively. Wherever he might 
take his stand suspicion and distrust would spring up around him and choke him. 
Feared by all, any party with which he might seek to array himself would exclaim, 
" Save us from our friend ! " and such an affiliation as would alone enable him to ac- 
complish his purpose would be impossible. 

Hence it is that for five or six years past I have deemed every duty to which man 
is subject — duty to himself, duty to his family, duty to his country— to dictate to such 
men silence ; and by this I mean not to censure those whose convictions and acts are 
different from mine. I have thought, and still think, that all such a one can do, or 
should do, is not to uphold or approve, but quietly to acquiesce in, the result of the 
wager of battle. This have I sought to do, and happy am I if my example has in- 
spired in a single other breast the desire which animates mine: the wish to be in the 
country one peaceable, law-abiding citizen. 

Still, as an observer of political affairs, Col. Lamar was neither mo- 
rose nor indifferent. Especially did he feel just then a keen interest in 
the fate and welfare of Mr. Davis and those intimately associated with 
him. On the 21st of November, 1865, he writes to Dr. Waddell, the 
Chancellor of the university, in respect to Mr. Burton N. Harrison, 
Mr. Davis' private secretary, who also had been imprisoned, as follows: 

I shall write, this mail, to Sharkey. I have more hope, however, from Alcorn's 
energy than from Sharkey's influence. I will also write to Pinson and Reynolds, of 
the House, and West. The incarceration of young Harrison has weighed upon my 
spirits like a nightmare, and it gives me some relief to make an effort for his release. 
His continued imprisonment indicates a purpose on the part of the government which 
I am almost afraid will not yield to mere influence. It has some connection with the 
designs in reference to the President of the late Confederacy. Until those designs are 
accomplished or thwarted, tliere seems to me but little prospect for poor young Har- 
rison's release from his confinement. But you may be assured that I will leave noth- 
ing untried, within the range of my influence, to effect his release. I feel his posi- 
tion the more, that I was the means of getting him the post which has resulted so dis- 
astrously to him. 

The imprisonment of Hon. C. C. Clay also distressed him greatly. It 
was another of the closely personal matters, which, in conjunction with 
the hastening developments of public affairs, as administered by the 
Congress, pressed deeply upon him the sense of implacability in the 
Republican party. Mr. Clay had been a Senator from Alabama. He 
was a man of elegant and dignified manners, not robust, suave but co- 


gent in elocution, firm and daring in policy. He had served also in the 
Confederate Senate. Toward the end of the war he had been sent on a 
confidential mission to Canada by the Confederate Government, in- 
trusted with secret service money for the purpose of enlisting aid. 
When the Confederacy fell he voluntarily surrendered to the United 
States, although he was charged with complicity in the murder of Pres- 
ident Lincoln. He was imprisoned at Fortress Monroe, but was re- 
leased on parole, and was finally fully acquitted. He wrote to Mr. La- 
mar the following account of his experiences: 

HuNTSViLLE, Ala., March 15, 1866. 

ilfi/ D«ar iomar; Your fraternal letter only reached me on yesterday. . . . las- 
sure you it gave me great pleasure to hear from you and to read the generous senti- 
ments of love and sympathy you felt. If my means were adequate to my will, I 
would fly to you, my dear friend, ere a month- passed over us. But there are insuper- 
able difficulties in my way. My parole confines me to this State unless my personal 
business absolutely requires me to leave it. My fathir is tottering to his grave under 
the accumulated weight of nearly fourscore years and many cares and sorrows. Since 
my mother's death, caused by grief for me, he has never left the lot; and, indeed, 
rarely gets out of the house. . . . Had I foreseen what I should suffer at the hands 
of those among whom I sought a sanctuary of justice to vindicate my character and 
that of my friends and the South from an atrocious calumny, I should not have sur- 
rendered, but have made my escape, as I might easily have done. I was treated as 
the vilest felon; crucified in body and soul; subjected to indignities and outrages 
more disgraceful to the United States Government than humiliating to me; and would 
have been murdered by the slow tortures, conceived in devilish malignity and Yankee 
ingenuity, but for the grace of God. It is too long and painful a tale of horrors to 
■w^rite to you. If we live, you will hear it or see it in print some day, I think. I have 
turned very gray, but look and feel as well as I have for many years. I shall prob- 
ably continue to live in Alabama while it pleases God to let me live. I confess to you 
that my interest and my inclination both incline me to go elsewhere; but as I feel in 
some measure responsible for the sufferings of the people of this State, and as I have 
been honored by them beyond my deserts, I am persuaded that it is my duty to share 
theie fate. I could be happier, I think, almost anywhere than here, the scene of so 
many departed joys, never to return, of so many sorrows never to be forgotten, of so 
many wrongs so hard to forgive. That command of Christ, " Love your enemies," 
so like a good God, and so unlike a wicked man, is kept constantly in memory here, 
to wound and reproach. The Tories are so much more despicable than the bloodiest 

I left our friend and chief in delicate, not bad, health. His beard is snowy white, 
his step not as firm and elastic as formerly, and his voice is stridulous. Guarded and 
goaded as he is, he cannot long survive. I trust that the guard will be removed from his 
prison before long; it is kept there, not for his security, but, I fear, to torture him. 
There is scarcely an officer in the Fortress besides the commandant (a Massachusetts 
Radical and proUge of Wilson's), who does not regard his treatment as cruel and un- 
magnanimous and mean. 

This letter is a sigh froni the depths of suffering. It is an epitome 
of the sorrows of the South. Here are some other extracts from old 
letters, showing a different phase of trouble and anxiety. They are 
from J. W. M. Harris and N. H. Harris, of Vicksburg, the latter of 


whom was the brigadier general of the brigade to which Mr. Lamar's 
old regiment belonged. 

We are hard at it now. When our senior returned he found his home shattered 
in pieces. . . . Our office furniture consisted of one desk, two chairs, and one book: 
the Code of 1857. This was our start. We have now a neatly furnished office, some 
two or three hundred books, and are little more than paying expenses. ... If 
any man twelve months ago had told either of us this when, despondent and gloomy, 
the one borrowed fifty dollars in gold from a little Jew friend, a fellow-Mason, to 
come from Eufaula on; the other had returned from the army with seven dollars in 
greenbacks (the remnants of the sale of a dearly loved old warhorse) and one suit of 
clothes, then I say we would have thought that man crazy. Our eyes were gazing 
out on the wide world for some other home, Colonel. But God helped us. 'Twas he 
that aided us. 

From his mother, Mrs. Troutman, to Mr. Lamar, under date March 
23d, 1866, from Macon, Ga.: 

Our people here are very despondent. Gen. Cobb and others say that we have not 
yet seen the " bottom of our trouble." One of our papers, the Telegraph, says that there 
will be revolution "before Christmas. The Federals are seizing all the cotton they can 
get hold of, upon the plea of its being subscribed to the Confed erate Government. Geor- 
gia is anxious to be at peace. The people are yielding, and submit as well as they 
may to compulsion. Everything is quiet and still. The people earnestly desire to do 
right, and are well pleased with President Johnson. There is great destitution among 
many of Our people : those who have been accustomed to even the luxuries of life. 
In Calhoun, where I went with your sipter two weeks ago, there were such striking 

evidences of poverty as to make it painful to imagine. Mrs. J , a granddaughter 

of Mrs. C (relatives), does her own washing, cooking, and all her other work, as- 
sisted by a girl ten years old. The village is in a ruinous condition. Many of the 
houses burned, and no repairs going on. I was told that persons who had been rich 
have now barely the necessaries of life. It was a sad thing to witness. Your sister 
could not collect a cent of money. . . . Are you heavily taxed in Mississippi? 
Every silver spoon, fork — indeed, everything that we are not compelled to have— is 
taxed by the United States. We are old, and it will not take much for us the balance 
of our lives. . . . Write soon, dear son, and tell me you have courage to meet all 
the trials of life with cheerfulness, and that you are contented to commence life again 
with renewed hope and confidence in your final success. May God aid you in all your 

From the same to the same, September 4, 1866: 

People here are hard run, and considerable talk of repudiating all debts by a con- 
vention of the people of the State, if the Legislature does not act to meet the wishes 
of the people. It is earnestly to be hoped that it may not be carried out. Some of the 
■ wealthiest men in Jasper and Jones are reduced to the bare necessaries of life. I 
firmly believe that it is all right and best for us all. God cannot err. 
Good when he gives, supremely good; nor le^s when he denies. 
E'en crosses, from his sovereign hand, are blessings in disguise. 
Why should we doubt a Father's love, so constant and so kind? ■ 

If we could truly realize this, how many of the sorrows and afflictions of life would 
lose their poignancy, and a sweet feeling of implicit trust and love would fill our hearts 
with happiness. I trust, dearest Lucius, that, in some degree, you feel this blessed 
assurance, and can trust your God for the future. Be encouraged. God opens your 
way before you, and when an avenue of usefulness is closed he leads you gently on, 


his redeemed child, into ways you have not known. And thus he will ever do; only 
put your unfaltering trust in him. 

Mrs. Lamar, from Coffeeville, February 16, 1866, to her mother, Mrs. 

Perhaps it will all turn out right in the end. I try to take this view of everything 
which happens, and be thankful for the portion of this world's goods which is left to 
us. True, the times are very much changed, but they might be worse. We keep no 
man servant now about the lot. Lucius has been working about the fences and gates 
and locks to his outhouses all the morning. He feeds his cows and helps cut the 
wood and does a great deal of work. If he can only have good health, I feel as if we 
would be happy under almost any circumstances. 

From Col. Lamar to Mrs. Longstreet, July 26, 1866: 
I feel sometimes pretty blue about the future. How I am to get along I can't see 
now; but I hope to get some law practice in addition to my salary. 

Col. Lamar was burdened not only by the general expenses of his 
family and the depression of the times, but also by debts which he had 
incurred before the war. They were not great when made, compared 
with his ability to pay at the time; but they were very onerous after 
the impoverishment described. Nevertheless, he labored courageously 
and faithfully to discharge them ; and this he finally did, after years of 
self-denial, out of his earnings, meeting principal and interest, declining 
to admit of any rebates, or even reductions in interest. At the period 
now under consideration he was using even his jewelry to pay such debts 
as those articles would meet. ^ 

In June of this year Col. Lamar was again elected to the chair of Eth- 
ics and Metaphysics in the university, and accepted the position. He 
moved to Oxford, in order to enter upon the duties of his new work, in 
September. It was his intention, as it was his privilege, not to abandon 
the practice of law, but to accept such cases as should come to him while 
teaching. He had always a fancy for metaphysical study and investi- 
gation. It will be remembered that he had held the same chair for a 
short time in 1860-61. 

During his first year at the university — that is, during the session of 
1866-67 — Prof. Lamar discharged, ad interim, the duties of Law Profess- 
or, the chair of Law not having been supplied. Consequently, although 
he was relieved of part of his own proper work for that time, his labors 
were very onerous. He conducted the classes in Psychology, in Logic, 
and in Law, besides composing written lectures. In January, 1867, 
however, he was relieved of this pressure to some extent. He was unan- 
imously elected to fill the Law chair, which was thenceforward his ex- 
clusive work. 

There was but one voice from those who came in contact with him, 
in regard to Prof. Lamar's efficiency. He was an enthusiast in his 
calling, whatever that might be; and that enthusiasm he carried into 
his professorial work. As a member of the faculty he was always wise 


and prompt in counsel, temperate and considerate, although firm where 
occasion arose. To his pupils he was always accessible and kind, com- 
panionable, inspiring them all with commingled sentiments of profound 
respect and personal regard. He was devoted to their interests. He 
felt that, for the time, he was the representative of the true princirjles 
of the science which he taught, and that he was individually responsible 
for the results of his teaching. He possessed in a wonderful degree 
the faculty of infusing his own spirit into all who sat under his instruc- 
tion. It was his lot to fill three of the least attractive chairs in the uni- 
versity — Mathematics, Metaphysics, and Law. Yet to each of them he 
gave a charm in the eyes of his pupils, alike unusual and beneficial. 
Many of those pupils treasured up his instructions, and bore away with 
them rich fruits of their association with him; and in the professional 
eminence which they attained proved themselves successful channels 
for the communication of the same benefits to others. 

To a knowledge of the law coextensive with its range, he united a 
power of analysis, generalization, and elucidation which nearly divested 
it of all obscurity. His lectures upon the most intricate and obscure 
branches, such as conditions and limitations in deeds, executory devises, 
contingent remainders, and the exact boundaries between the law and 
equity, presented those troublesome subjects in entirely new lights, and 
gave to them a symmetry, consistency, and perspicuity equally admira- 
ble and unexpected. For his pupils he set daily lessons, upon which 
each pupil was subjected to a searching examination. The lesson end- 
ed, he took up the subject, and in a lecture which, it is said, never 
flagged in interest or tired in delivery, unfolded it in all its amplitude 
and modifications, anticipating and removing, so far as was possible, all 
the doubts and difficulties which might arise in the minds of the stu- 
dents. In the exercises of the law classes, a member of each class was 
now appointed, whose duty it became at tlie next meeting to deliver a 
lecture on what was taught at the preceding recitation. This he did 
under the criticism of the whole class, any member of which was privi- 
leged to object to the lecture that it omitted something important or 
contained something incorrect. This exercise was deemed valuable in 
several respects. It constrained the sustained attention of the class to 
the recitation and the professor's lecture. It trained the lecturing 
student in the habit and art of appropriate style and manner of stating 
and unfolding legal propositions in a court of justice. If the lecturer 
were criticised, he was expected to defend his lecture if he thought fit, 
and thus debates among the students often arose on the scope and mean- 
ing of their recitations; all conducted orderly, under the supervision of 
the professor. 

Moot courts were also held every week, upon the plan of a complete 
court of justice. Eecords were provided and neatly kept, with a clerk. 


sheriff, bailiff, and juries. Cases for trial were devised by the professor, 
which were brought and defended by students appointed for the purpose, 
with all of the formalities and details. The records were kept with ex- 
actness. Each student was expected to serve in various capacities in 
his turn, and thus he received training in the special duties of the offi- 
cials of the court. 

Many years later — indeed, after Mr. Lamar's death — Hon. C. E. Hook- 
er, in a memorial address spoke of this portion of Mr. Lamar's life as 

The love and affection which he aroused in the hearts of young men was wonder- 
ful. I know of no criticism to which a professor can be subjected more to be dreaded 
than that of young men assembled from all portions of the State in the classes of a 
university. You will not find a graduate of that institution who was educated there 
during the period that Mr. Lamar acted as professor that does not feel for him and has 
not borne for him in all the changing stages of life that perfect aflfection and profound 
admiration that he inspired in the hearts of all young men who came in contact with 

In the month of November, 1868, the family with which Mr. Lamar 
was so thoroughly identified were deeply afilicted by the loss of the ac- 
complished and angelic Mrs. Longstreet. A recurrence to his own trib- 
ute to her in a previous chapter will suggest the distress which this 
event caused to him as well as to the others of her loved and loving 

The year 1869 was distinguished by nothing of note in Mr. Lamar's 
history except the marriage, in May, of his oldest child— a daughter. In 
the fall of thatyear also he purchased a body of land, about thirty acres, 
in the northern part of the town of Oxford; and on this premises began 
the erection of a residence, which was completed in the following April. 
This home, the first of his own since he had left "Solitude" in 1857, 
was the slowly earned fruit of hard labor at his profession; for at this 
time his practice had so increased that he, with his moderate ideas in 
that particular, described it as " very large." For a year or two past he 
had associated with himself a junior partner, of whom he had become 
very fond — a Mr. Edward D. Clarke, who later married a niece of Gen. 

In the fall of 1869 occurred the election, under the authority of the 
United States Government (as will be more fully narrated in the fol- 
lowing chapter), by which the State was reconstructed and "radical- 
ized," as the phrase then was, and which led to his retirement from the 
faculty of the university. The new constitution was ratified. In 1870 
the State was released from military rule, and turned over to the civil 
authorities of the new regime. All of the State officials and a large ma- 
jority of the Legislature were Republicans of types most obnoxious to 


the people of the State. The incoming party laid its hands on the board 
of trustees of the university, and infused into it a large element of their 
own kind. As the papers of the day put it, perhaps a little too strong- 
ly, the board was also " radicalized." There was general apprehension 
that the university would be assailed, that it would be made a training 
school for " radical " politics, and even that it would be converted into 
a mixed institution, for blacks as well as whites — a condition wholly re- 
pugnant to the feelings of the Southern people. The Governor of the 
State was ex officio President of the board, and his election Mr. Lamar 
had opposed strongly. Altogether he expected but little consideration 
from the new administration, and felt that his own self-respect demand- 
ed his resignation. This he transmitted to the June meeting, and thus 
severed finally his connection with the university. While leaving the 
institution, however, he left it gracefully. At the Commencement, on 
June 27, 1870, he delivered the address to the literary societies. 

It was one of his ablest and most eloquent efforts. For one hour he held his vast au- 
dience as delighted listeners. The young men of our country who were not privileged 
to hear it should have its wholesome, timely counsels before them. His word paint- 
ing of two events in the life of England's leading statesman (Disraeli) was equal to 
the grandest effort of even his distinguished subject, and was rich in encouragement 
for the young men who were about to step forth on the theater of life. . . Col. 
Lamar was followed by Mr. Joseph A. Brown, the first honor man of the fourteen 
graduates of the law class, and valedictorian on this occasion. . . . His tribute to 
his law instructor (Col. Lamar) was beautiful and just, mingled with regret to many by 
the announcement that Ool. Lamar had resigned his chair in the university. . . . 
On Mr. Brown's taking his seat, Col. Lamar arose, and with evident emotion thanked 
the young orator who had addressed him ; and, turning to the law graduates, he said : 
"And now, young gentlemen, as you go home I pray that you may have prosperity 
and happiness through life, with just enough of sorrow to remind you that this earth 
is not your home." * 

This was the closing scene. 

At the same time, however. Col. Lamar did not wholly abandon the 
idea, just yet, of continuing to teach law. He opened a negotiation with 
the law firm of Nisbets & Jackson, of Macon, Ga., looking to an associ- 
ation with them; all of which will appear from the following extract 
from a letter, dated May 30, to Judge James Jackson: 

The arrangement of the courts in this State by the recent legislation renders it al- 
most impossible for a lawyer to leave home. I have just received from Gen. Walthall, 
the leading lawyer in North Mississippi, and second to none in the State, a letter turn- 
ing all his business in the Federal court over to me, on account of his being unable 
to come to Oxford. . . . This will give you some idea of how our profession is 
disturbed in this State. The lawyers here, consisting mainly of old Whigs, whose ex- 
clusion from political honors made them more attentive to their profession, are a 
body of talented, high-toned men, who are deeply discontented with the shock which 
Alcorn and his Legislature have given to their interests, and many of the leading men 

* Correspondence of the Weekly Clarion^ 


have gone to New Orleans and Memphis. The wound is an incurable one, and the 
state of things is permanent. The negroes have a large and increasing majority. I 
must take my property and family from the State. Jeff Davis approves my purpose, 
and says he sees nothing but sorrow and wrongs for Mississippians in the future. I 
shall most probably move to Macon. I would like much to practice with you. I pre- 
fer you to any living man. The fact that I would be also associated with the Nisbets 
is an additional attraction. If, however, that arrangement is made, I would so much 
like to move my law school to Macon, and have you all in it, the Judge to be the 
Chancellor. He would be delighted with it. The fresh young manhood of Georgia 
coming in contact with him, their bright hopes and budding aspirations, their rever- 
ential attachment to him as their preceptor, and the interest that they would take in 
his lectures, would enliven and illumine the evening of his life as nothing else of au 
earthly nature can. He would not find it diflScult or irksome. I could take off his 
hands all the details. I have been very successful as a law professor. The Judge can 
take a second growth in this career. 

However, these cagtles in Spain crumbled away. The Federal court 
was not removed from Oxford, as he expected it would be; and the es- 
tablished practice and the local attachments proved too strong to leave. 

The foregoing letter, to one who can read between the lines, will give 
some disclosure of the pleasures which Mr. Lamar derived from his pro- 
fessorship, and the reluctance with which he gave it up. 

In July of this year the honored Judge Longstreet passed away, in 
his eightieth year. He died surrounded by the members of his family 
circle, Mr. Lamar and his wife being present. "The death scene was 
almost a demonstration of immortality. His mind was clear and his 
soul was calm, in the assurance of Christian hope. Placing' his finger 
upon his wrist, he marked the beating of his failing pulse. Growing 
weaker, his hand dropped away, and the finger lost its place. Motion- 
ing that it should be replaced, it was done, and he resumed the count 
of his last heart beats, growing fainter and fainter." — "Look, Jennie, 
look! " exclaimed Mr. Lamar to his wife, as amongst the awe-struck by- 
standers, " he beheld a sudden illumination overspread the pale face of 
the dying man, with a look of wonder and joy in his eyes, and every 
feature expressing unearthly rapture. That was the end." * 

Mr. Lamar was not a man given to fancies, religious or other; but 
this scene of Judge Longstreet's death made upon him a most profound 
impression. If not exactly convinced of it, he was yet strongly per- 
suaded that those dying eyes had, in very truth, beheld something of the 
glories of the other world. In his address made at the Commencement 
of Emory College, but a few days later, he spoke with great emphasis 
and impressiveness about what he had witnessed. He said, also, that 
the loss of Judge Longstreet had filled his heart with unutterable sad- 

This address at Emory College, in July, was the one from which quo- 

" Judge Longstreet," Bishop O. V. Fitzgerald, p. 192. 


tation was made in tlie first chapter of this work. Here he was received 
with great cordiality. He was tendered the professorship of Belles Let- 
tres and History, but declined it, having determined to remain in Mis- 

In the autumn of this year Mr. Lamar delivered an address before 
the Agricultural and Mechanical Association of Carroll and Choctaw 
Counties, upon the needed changes in our agricultural system, and the 
relation of government to agriculture. In brief outline his speech was 
to this effect: 

The emancipation of the slaves had revolutionized Southern farming. 
It had converted what before was capital into a never-failing and clam- 
orous claimant for profits. The planter must therefore capitalize his 
own manhood and intelligence. This he could dp in three principal 
ways: by diversification and rotation of crops, by the use of labor-sav- 
ing machinery, and by the higher culture of fewer acres. By diversi- 
fying crops a most appalling waste of values would be prevented. The 
crop of 1870 was estimated at four million bales of cotton. This great 
quantity depresses prices one-half. Two million bales at twenty-five 
cents per pound would bring as much money as four million at twelve 
and one-half cents. If this be true, or approximately so, we get abso- 
lutely nothing for the third and the fourth millions. We suffer a clear 
loss of the labor, outlay, and exhaustion of lands expended in making 
them. That expenditure would have produced one hundred million 
bushels of corn. What is true of the people as a whole is true of indi- 
viduals. Those who raise cotton exclusively grow poor; those who raise 
cotton, corn, meat, potatoes, etc., grow in wealth, and work no harder. 

After dwelling for a time upon the next topics of machinery and in- 
tense culture, Mr. Lamar turned to the governmental relation to agri- 
culture. Government can contribute to the aggregate wealth of its cit- 
izens no direct and positive increment. It does its good by a negative 
influence, by preventing injustice and crime, by securing property from 
invasion, and thus by affording to its citizens an opportunity to enrich 
themselves. Government resembles the fences which surround our fields. 
They are a needful protection, but produce neither harvests nor fruits. 
A law cannot create capital. If it could, there would be an end to la- 
bor. If government makes a man or a section rich, it is by wronging 
other men or other sections. 

The speaker then considered the evils of class legislation, of excessive 
and partial taxation, of lavish and discriminating expenditures, at length, 
including a discussion of the operation upon agricultural communities 
of the existing tariff. He showed how the North was prospering under 
the existing management, and the South suffering. This finished, the 
speaker continued: 


We are told that we are under a new regime, that the past of the South was marked 
by great intellectuality, that her leaders were great and pure; but that while they 
were engaged in tracing and enforcing the principles of constitutional government, 
the North with more practical wisdom was using the government as an instrument 
for its own enrichment. We are told that the South must imitate the North in this 
respect, that her people must give up their character for virtue, intellectual and moral 
dignity, and become treasury-eaters side by side with those Northerners who are will- 
ing upon such terms not only to grant us an act of amnesty, but also to permit us for 
a time to share their plunder. And all this to a certain extent is true. 

The speaker then discussed at some length the proud records of the 
South in standing by her political principles and her convictions of 
right without balancing them against calculations of profit, and con- 

Clioose you then. Will you have honor? Then adhere to the practices and prin- 
ciples of your fathers ; stand for the rights of the people and for an honest govern- 
ment economically administered. Will you have profit? Then cast in your lot with 
those who administer the government for profit, who oppress the poor and the la- 
borer; turn your backs on the faith of your fathers, and fall in with those whose prac- 
tices, whatever they may signify to them, can mean nothing but reproach to you. 

I want no response to these questions. I read it in your eyes. The pure spirit of 
patriotism illuminates your countenance. In vain will the harpies who prey upon 
our stricken land beckon to you to sell your birthright for a mess of pottage. 

It was at this period also that Mr. Lamar wrote his celebrated " Lee 
Letter." This epistle was elicited by a proposition, after the death of 
Gen. E. E. Lee, to celebrate his birthday in Vicksburg, and by an invi- 
tation extended to Col. Lamar to deliver the memorial address. It is a 
beautiful specimen of character analysis and of antithesis, besides pre- 
senting interestingly Mr. Lamar's conception of the characters of Lee 
and Washington, the two great Virginians.* 

On the 11th of September, 1870, Mr. Lamar wrote to Charles Eeeme- 
lin, of Dent, O., a German gentleman whose writings in the Commoner, 
of Cincinnati, had arrested his attention and excited his admiration, as 

The country is in a deplorable state, and the people, with all their sacred convic- 
tions scattered to the winds, are absorbed in the prosaic details of making a living. 
Our public men have become bewildered in the wreck of all that they considered per- 
manent and true, and know not what to do or advise. There is a perfect anarchy of 
opinion and purpose among us. If you will come down and see us, and show us some 
definite way of getting out of our present very indefinite condition, our gratitude will be 

We feel that the fate of our section is not in our hands; that nothing we can do or 
say will afiect the result. 

In another letter to the same correspondent, written in the year 1871, 
he said: 

I have nothing to do with politics. Some kind friend in Washington sends me the 
Olobe occasionally, and I read the debates with interest. It makes me realize the 

"Appendix, No. 8. 


great revolution which haa been wrought, both in the political institutions of the 
country and in the thoughts and phraseology of those who direct its affairs. It is 
fortunate for most of our Southern leaders that they are excluded from their former 
positions in the government. They could hardly sustain the high reputation acquired 
in the old arena. Toombs possibly might, he is so ardent in his temperament and so 
keenly alive to the influences of passing scenes and immediate events; but Mr. Davis, 
Hunter, and the others, would be at a great disadvantage in every encounter with the 
new men who, produced by the times, are up to its passions, its questions, its de- 
mands and resources. 

On the 22d of June, 1871, occurred an incident which gave Col. La- 
mar a great deal of annoyance at intervals during the remainder of his 

The United States Government had instituted in the District Court 
at Oxford a number of prosecutions under the Kuklux law, and the 
town was filled with strangers: prisoners, witnesses, deputy marshals, 
and soldiers. It was a time of great bustle and no little excitement. 
Many of the persons attracted thither were desperate and reckless men, 
disreputable, and altogether dangerous, who were turbulent and aggres- 
sive, calculating on their "backing" by the United States authorities 
and the presence of the soldiery. One of these men was a witness for 
the government in one of the Kukhxx cases — Whistler by name — about 
thirty years of age, Illiterate, apparently addicted to liquor, and ill- 

Col. Lamar's law office opened on the same stairway and passage as 
the Federal court room. As he approached it on this occasion he found 
a scene of excitement and turbulence. Whistler was beating a citizen 
of the town named Kelly, an old man, poor, under the influence of liq- 
uor, and unable to defend himself. So great was the commotion that 
the court, which was engaged in hearing a bankruptcy case, was dis- 
turbed, and the judge ordered a deputy marshal to arrest the parties 
and turn them over to the Mayor of the town,' who had police powers. 
In the meantime Kelly had appealed to Col. Lamar for protection, to 
which Whistler replied by swearing at the Colonel* The latter applied 
to the Mayor, whose office was in the same passageway, to have the man 
arrested, and passed on ; but the arrest was not made. 

When the deputy marshal reached the scene Whistler had his pistol 
out, and seemed to be trying to shoot Kelly. The deputy arrested 
both parties and carried them before the Mayor. He then started to 
return to the court room, where he was needed; but hearing the noise 
renewed, he saw Whistler violently struggling to draw his pistol again. 
The deputy then turned back toward the scene of violence, but Whist- 
ler's pistol was taken from him by a man named Roberts, and he went 
off with a party of soldiers. The deputy then returned to the court room. 

In the afternoon the prosecution against some of the alleged Kuklux 


prisoners was taken up. Col. Lamar was in the court room, and seeing 
the deputy, asked of him the name of the man whom he had arrested, 
and what had been done with him. He was told the name, also that 
Whistler was there as a witness for the United States; that he had been 
delivered up to the Mayor, but that he had walked off before the Mayor's 
face with some soldiers. The Colonel then said that the deputy should 
have held him in custody, for he had himself seen him insulting and 
threatening peaceable citizens. The deputy answered that he would 
arrest him again, and give him up to the town marshal. The Colonel 
replied: "No; the town authorities seem powerless in presence of the 
soldiers. I will speak to Judge Hill about it." 

About this time Whistler came into the court room and took a seat 
on the steps leading up to the dais occupied by the judge, and conse- 
quently within the space reserved for the members of the bar, officers 
of the court, jury, etc. At this time Col. Lamar and Marshal Pierce 
were engaged in a whispered jocular conversation. There was a cessa- 
tion of proceedings before the court, and the Colonel, seeing Whistler, 
arose. He made a motion, ore terms, that the court have Whistler ar- 
rested and placed under a peace bond. He proceeded to give his reasons, 
stating the facts in the case, and was saying that Whistler was evidently 
a violent, turbulent man, who should be placed under restraint, when 
Whistler arose. He approached the Colonel. He was armed with a 
large pistol, which was in a scabbard attached to a belt around the waist; 
and as he approached he was trying to draw the weapon. The Colonel 
was not armed. He said to the judge: "I ask your Honor to make this 
man take his seat and keep it until I finish my statement." Then he 
seized a chair and raised it, saying: "If the Court won't make you, I 
will." Whistler jumped backward, and the Colonel put the chair down. 
The Court commanded order. Various officials scattered about the 
room shouted out, "Arrest Col. Lamar! arrest Col. Lamar!" and one 
of them said to some soldiers present as guards to the prisoners, "By 
virtue of the authority of the United States I order you to arrest that 
man" (pointing to the Colonel); to which one of them replied, "We 
are not under your orders." 

The Colonel protested that he had done nothing to justify arrest. 
The deputy approached him for the purpose of quieting matters, and 
was about to place his hands upon him when the Colonel waved him 
aside without touching him, saying: "I am committing no disorder." 
Marshal Pierce then came running up, followed by other persons. He 
jumped in between the Colonel and Whistler, and seized both, turning 
his face toward Whistler. His purpose was pacific; but the Colonel 
neither recognized him nor knew of his purpose, and struck him with his 
fist a quick, severe blow upon the jaw, which dislocated the jaw, and sent 
him sprawling. Then there was a great excitement. The United States 


Attorney demanded that the Colonel be arrested. No one paid any at- 
tention, however, to Whistler. Mr. Emory, the foreman of tlie grand 
jury, rushed out and returned in a very short time on the double-quick 
with another squad of soldiers, with guns in hand, one of whom advanced 
within the bar. The judge continued calling upon the Colonel to ob- 
serve order, and threatening his arrest. When the soldiers came in 
the confusion became greatly intensified. Two gentlemen who were 
armed — B. O. Sykes, an attorney from Aberdeen, one of the Colonel's 
former law students, and Maj. Thomas Walton, a Republican, afterwards 
United States Attorney — sprang to his side, pistols in hand, to defend 
him or fall with him. Matters assumed a most dangerous appearance; 
the ominous click of the military rifles sounded through the room, and 
had the soldiers not behaved with great discretion bloodshed might 
have followed. Meanwhile the Colonel had become greatly exasperated. 
He continued to address the Court, saying in substance that he had seen 
Whistler commit the assault, and that he would not sit quietly by and 
see an unoffending citizen struck down without raising his voice. He 
denounced the parading, of soldiery in the courts in times of profound 
peace. When the Court threatened to have him arrested he said at first 
that he might be sent to jail, but that he regarded the jail now as a more 
suitable place for gentlemen than most others. After the soldiers were 
brought in and their guns were cocked, becoming much incensed, stand- 
ing on his tiptoes with his clinched fists shaking over his head, and his 
face blazing with wrath, he declared that if they undertook to put him in 
jail the streets should "swim in blood." The citizens of the town, hav- 
ing gotten news of the occurrence, began to run in. Gen. Featherstone 
and Col. Manning, friends of the Colonel, here requested him to desist 
from speaking and to go with them into an adjoining room. This he 
did at once, catching himself short up as he often did in his passions. 
After a very short absence he returned, made some pacific remarks, and 
apologized to the Court for his part in the disturbance. When he had 
taken his seat Marshal Pierce came forward and said: " t ask the Court 
to place Col. Lamar under arrest for striking me in open court." The 
Colonel sprang to his feet and said: " I am sure the Court will not make 
that order. I did not strike him until he tried to arrest me unlawfully." 
The marshal replied: "I did not approach you for the purpose of ar- 
resting you; I only wanted to give you friendly counsel." "Then," 
said the Colonel, " I regret very much that I struck you. I hope you 
are not hurt," stating, besides, that he did not know at the time that it 
was the marshal. The two men entered at once into an amicable expla- 
nation, and Col. Lamar repeated his apology to the Court. The soldiers 
afterwards discussed the matter with some of the citizens. Their ser- 
geant said: "We didn't want to hurt him; we never saw a better fight 
or heard a better speech. He hadn't broken any law." 


Col. Lamar's apologies were accepted by the judge, and the incident 
was supposed to be terminated; but on the next day, without notice to 
him, the following order was entered upon the minutes: 

Whereas a most unfortunate and much to be regretted difficulty occurred in the 
presence of the Court on yesterday, in which Col. L. Q. C. Lamar, a member of the 
bar of this court, was a party; and whereas soon thereafter the said Lamar made an 
apology to the Court which was satisfactory to the judge of the court as an individual, 
yet, being the judicial representative of the United States for the time being, the judge 
of the court deems it necessary for the vindication of the court and the government 
that the name of said L. Q. C. Lamar be stricken from the roll of attorneys thereof, 
and that he be prohibited from practicing as an attorney and counselor therein. 

This action on the part of the Court excited great surprise and no 
little indignation amongst the members of the bar. The newspapers, 
which contained accounts of the fracas, made emphatic comments upon 
it; the Clarion, for instance, saying that "It will detract nothing from 
his fame as a lawyer and as a high-toned, chivalric gentleman, in the 
highest sense of the term." The attorneys of the court bestirred them- 
selves to memorialize the Court for his reinstatement; but he forbade 
them to do so, maintaining that he had done nothing but what was his 
right in protecting himself in a very moderate manner from a murderous 
assault, in the first instance, and from an unlawful and oppressive arrest, 
as he deemed it, in the second. He declined to be placed in the atti- 
tude of a petitioner for pardon. After a few days of cooling time, how- 
ever, the district attorney of his own motion moved the rescission of the 
order, which motion was promptly granted, and amicable relations re- 

The affair, however, was much distorted and misrepresented. The 
radical papers made much ado over it. The versions varied, but all de- 
picted a scene of great and unprovoked violence. The university students 
were .asserted to have rushed into the bar, and to have joined in the 
row; the Kuklux prisoners were depicted as vaulting over the railing 
of the bar, with cheers, to take part, etc. — of all of which not a word 
was true. The matter was even exploited in the Kuklux report of Con- 
gress as in some sort a Kuklux performance, and as connecting the 
Colonel with the Klan in some undefi.ned manner. 

During his later career thife affair was occasionally made the text of 
assaults upon the Colonel by his political enemies. When in the Sen- 
ate, he had reason to expect that Mr. Blaine would recur to it in one of 
their controversies, and he prepared himself to meet the charge with 
evidences of such character that he regretted that the point was not 
made. "When he was named for Secretary of the Interior the matter 
was revived; and again, in a general assault upon him by the Tribune, 
of New Tork, when he was nominated for the Supreme Bench. On the 
latter occasion Col. Pierce, the ex-marshal, gave him a written statement 


of the whole affair, from which, the main features of the foregoing nar- 
rative were taken, and which closed with the following paragraphs: 

I was appointed Marshal of the United States for the Northern District of Missis- 
sippi during June, 1870 (reappointed June, 1874), and had my office at Oxford, the 
home of Col. Lamar, whose acquaintance I soon had the pleasure of making, and 
whom I afterwards knew well. Our relations, offlcially and personally, were always 
most pleasant, as also were his with the other officers of the court. 

I had known that it was mainly due to his efforts and personal influence that a 
riot was averted at Oxford, at an election held during November, 1869 ; and from in- 
tercourse with him I knew him to be conservative, law-abiding, and considerate of 
the views of other men. Knowing his great ability, his extensive knowledge of our 
institutions, and his conservative tendencies, and believing that he could best repre- 
sent the people of that district, I favored his election to Congress, and voted for him. 

This, be it remembered, when the Eepublicans had a candidate in the 

On the same occasion Judge Hill, in a letter of July 5, 1887, said: 

I was shown, a day or two since, by a friend of you and myself, a copy of the Trib- 
une, in which there is an allusion to a difficulty which occurred in the court at Ox- 
ford, regretted by no one more than yourself, the allusion to which is regretted by 
no one more than myself. I trust that it will not be alluded to again. If so, and it be- 
comes necessary, I will do all in my power to render it harmless to you, as well as to 
myself It occurred under most extraordinary circumstances, its disposition was at 
the time satisfactory to all concerned, and it ought to be buried in the sea of forgetful- 
ness. , 

In the autumn of this year (1871) the county officers and members of 
the State Legislature were to be elected. An active canvass was made 
by the Democratic-Conservative party, one of the features of which was 
a series of joint discussions between Gov. Alcorn and Hon. Eobert 
Lowry. They met at Holly Springs on the 9th of October. Col. Lamar 
happened to be in the town on business connected with his profession. 
There was a discussion in the morning between the two canvassers, and 
a second bout was projected for the evening. Gen. Lowry, however, 
was taken sick; and Col. Lamar, who was in the audience, was called 
upon — mainly through the instrumentality of his former young partner, 
Mr. B. D. Clarke — to represent the Democratic champion in this emer- 

" Imagine my consternation," writes the Colonel afterwards to a friend. " I had 
not made a political speech in ten years, and was almost ignorant of the current 
campaign politics. I had heard Alcorn's speech in the morning, but not with any 
view to controverting its positions. I had not a document to verify my statements, 
nor a note with which to refresh m y memory. But my friends would hear to no refusal ; 
so I rose and opened the debate. I replied to Alcorn's morning speech, but my re- 
marks took a very different range from what had got to be called ' the issues of the 
canvass.' But I had good reason to flatter myself that, while I did not meet the nat- 
ural anticipations of what the occasion required, my speech answered more to the hid- 
den thought and to the hearts of my audience than if I had followed the established 


lines. It certainly disconcerted Alcorn so much that he was unable to get along in 
his reply, though usually a most irrepressible ' slangwhanger.' " 

Certainly the speech was a successful one. The newspapers of the 
day gave it very complimentary notices. Mr. Clarke writes him, under 
date of the 13th of October: 

With the general approbation that your speech has elicited, the complimentary 
things that Alcorn said of you, and the opportunity that you had of being a little mag- 
nanimous toward him, I think that it was altogether a field day for you; and, as you 
say that I pushed you into it, I am in hopes that you will think that there is no oc- 
casion to blame me for it. 

We have now reached the period at which Col. Lamar, after his long 
retirement from political life, was drawn back, more by the force of cir- 
cumstances than by his own will, into that heated arena. The special 
significance of his later career was his agency in the rehabilitation 
of his desolated section, and the reconciliation of the alienated North 
and South each to the other. In order to present properly the condi- 
tions of this second phase of his political life — the objects which he set 
himself to accomplish, and the obstacles which needed surmounting — a 
review must be taken, as short as the case will admit, of the reconstruc- 
tion of the Southern States. 

It is not a pleasant task to recall those old wrongs and quarrels; bet- 
ter far that they should be buried in oblivion than that they should be 
remembered in any spirit of sectionalism or partisanship. But by 
those who love their country and its people, who have a firm faith in 
their generous nature and its glowing future, these topics may be con- 
sidered with tolerance and respect for all honest differences which 
sprang from most extraordinary circumstances, even if also with stern 
reprobation of all unworthy partisanship. 


Reconstruction: President Lincoln's Plan — Southern States; In or Out? — President 
Johnson's Plan —Provisional Governments — Southern Constitutional Conventions — 
Temper of Southern People — Temper of Congress — Howe and Stevens — Gloomier 
Days — Reconstruction Legislation — Military Rule — Demoralization — Carpetbaggers 
— Reconstruction Constitutions — Three Delayed States — Radical Rule — Freedman's 
Bureau — The Negro Problem — Southern Sentiment. 

EVEN before the surrender at Appomattox, President Lincoln had 
begun a process of reconstruction. By his proclamation of Decem- 
ber 8, 1863, he had offered to the people of the Confederate States, with 
exception of certain enumerated classes, amnesty, with restoration of all 
rights of property, except as to slaves, upon the condition of taking and 
keeping an oath to support the Federal Constitution and the Union of 
the States thereunder, and also to support the acts of Congress passed 
during the rebellion, unless they should be held void by Congress or 
by the Supreme Court. The President's plan of reconstruction was 
that, whenever in any rebellious State a number of persons, qualified 
under the proclamation and under the general laws of the State itself, 
as those laws existed before the secession, equal to one-tenth of the 
vote cast at the Presidential election of 1860, should reestablish a re- 
publican government, it would be recognized; saving to Congress, how- 
ever, its right to determine, in each House, whether it would receive 
any representation therefrom. 

This plan the President communicated to Congress in his message of 
December 8, 1863. Thereupon, after some delay, a bill was passed on 
the subject. The bill so passed conformed, in the main, to the Presi- 
dent's plan; but it differed in some respects which he considered im- 
portant. Meanwhile, and during the pendency of that bill before Con- 
gress, in Louisiana and Arkansas constitutions had been reformed and 
officers elected by loyal citizens, conformably to the President's procla- 
mation. But the reconstruction bill, as passed, would have undone this 
work, as it prescribed conditions which had not been met. For this 
reason, and also because he did not altogether approve of its policy, the 
President withheld his signature from the bill, and it failed to become 
a law. His proclamation of July 8, 1864, however, declared that he ap- 
proved, in the main, the principles of the bill, and that he would, in 
conformity with its spirit, appoint Provisional Governors in the rebel- 
lious States in case the people thereof should desire to return to their 

This action of the President excited a strong protest and much oppo- 
fiition from some of the leading Eepublicans. 



In the winter of 1864-65 ineffectual efforts were made to pass recon- 
struction bills through Congress, with features regulating suffrage and 
recognizing the provisional governments of Arkansas and Louisiana. 
In July, 1865, a joint resolution passed, whereby the rebellious States 
were excluded from representation in the electoral college; and applica- 
tions made later in the session, by Louisiana, Virginia, Arkansas, and 
Tennessee, for recognition of their provisional governments organized 
by the loyalists, were postponed until the next meeting of Congress. 

On the 11th of April, 1865, only four days before his assassination, 
Mr. Lincoln said, in a speech, that "we, the loyal people, differ among 
ourselves as to the mode, manner, and means of reconstruction " ; and he 
spoke of censure to which he was subjected because of his course in 
that matter. The trouble about the new constitution of Louisiana, and 
apparently as to the others, was that they did not enfranchise the 

This was now made a serious objection by many. When the proclamation was is- 
sued public opinion had not advanced far enough to sustain a measure so radical as 
negro suffrage; but, as the sectional struggle drew to aclope,and after the colored men 
had borne their part in it, the sentiment in favor of their political equality with white 
men — or, at least, Southern white men— grew stronger in the Republican party. 
Thus, while the people of the Northern States were not yet quite ready to grant polit- 
ical equality even to the best-educated colored men within their own borders, the 
radical representatives in Washington were intent on bestowing universal suffrage 
upon the utterly illiterate negroes of the South.* 

Another question which now came to the front was whether the se- 
ceding States were in the Union or out of it. The advanced Radical 
leaders now claimed that, while the States had neither the right nor the 
power to secede, still their rebellion had put them out of the Union, 
either by reducing them to the status of Territories, or by suspending the 
Federal laws within their borders; and that before their ancient Federal 
relations could be resumed the consent of Congress had to be given. 
Meanwhile, that they were not to be taken into consideration as States, 
even on the question of the adoption of amendments to the Constitution 
by a three-fourths vote of all the States. President Lincoln did not 
accede to these positions, and in this particular the radical leaders 
made further complaint of him. 

Such was the situation when the surrender of the Confederate armies 
came, and the dire calamity of the mtirder of Mr. Lincoln. President 
Johnson undertook to carry out the reconstruction policy of his prede- 
cessor, with some modification in the way of a larger exclusion from the 
benefits of the amnesty. The change from the agency of Mr. Lincoln 
to that of Mr. Johnson in this particular was unfortunate for the South. 
Independently of the exasperation which naturally arose from the Pres- 
ident's murder, and which gravely complicated the situation, the one man 

*" Three Decailes of Federal Legislation," Cox, p. 843. 


was much less qualified— both by positiou and by nature— to befriend 
the South effectually, than the other. Mr. Lincoln was a manager of 
men, while Mr. Johnson undertook to drive them. Mr. Lincoln was 
most firmly established in the confidence of the Northern people, while 
Mr. Johnson was not. The Northern people were accustomed to Mr. 
Lincoln's leadership, even outside of the limits of the constitution, and 
to an extent which bore the appearance of autocracy; but no habit of 
deference led them to submit to Mr. Johnson. In short, it is more than 
doubtful if the advocacy of President Johnson did not work the South 
more trouble than good. 

His amnesty proclamation was issued on May 29. On the same day 
he declared his policy of reconstruction by another proclamation ap- 
pointing William W. Holden as Provisional Governor of North Caro- 
lina, placing his right to act in the premises upon the constitutional provi- 
sions that " the United States shall guarantee to every State in the Union 
a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against 
invasion and domestic violence," and that it shall be President's duty 
" to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." 

So, also, in quick succession Provisional Governors were appointed 
for the States of Mississippi, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, South Carolina, 
and Florida. These Governors were all directed to call conventions in 
their respective States for the purpose of altering or amending the State 
constitutions. The delegates were to be chosen by the loyal people, 
who were defined as those already qualified to vote and not excluded 
by the amnesty proclamations, and who should take an oath to support 
the Federal Constitution and to uphold the acts of Congress and the 
executive proclamations regarding slavery. The Governors were also in- 
vested with such powers . as were necessary and proper to enable the 
loyal people to restore the States to their proper constitutional relations 
with the Union. 

The President's proclamation further directed that the various mem- 
bers of the cabinet and the Federal judges should put the functions of 
their respective departments into operation in the seceding States. 

About the same time the President also recognized the loyal govern- 
ments established in the States of Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, and 

The conventions provided for in the President's proclamations were 
held in all of the States, except Texas, in the summer and autumn. 
They all declared the ordinance of secession void. They all abolished 
slavery. All, except South Carolina, repudiated the debts incurred in 
aid of the rebellion: a measure demanded by the President. 

The Southern people now considered that they had done all that was 
demanded of them by the Federal authorities. They had met every re- 
quirement of the President's proclamations, and the policy of those 


proclamations had been disclosed since December, 1863, without any 
denial by Congress or the Northern people, albeit there was some ob- 
jection from ultra radicals. They expected confidently that their ac- 
ceptance of the terms imposed for their rehabilitation would meet its 
due recognition, and that the States would be restored to their Federal 
relations and to their self-government. 

Their action had been not only prompt, but loyal as well. When the 
crash came, although devoted to the Confederacy and overwhelmed by 
its fall, they perceived the path of duty open to them. The conqueror 
was entitled to their allegiance; they would give it freely and unre- 
servedly. They were a faithful and true people wherever they acknowl- 
edged allegiance. Never was there in history a more generous effort on 
the part of a conquered people to submit with propriety and decorum. 
No repining, no sullenness, no covert hostility. Their work was done, 
their cause had failed, and they acquiesced. They were fully aware 
that it was best for themselves that good feeling should be restored. 
Already, before the expiration of the year, they had begun to 

Forecast the years 
And find in loss a gain to match ; 
(To) reach a hand through time to catch 
The far-off interest of tears. 

They had begun to comfort themselves with the reflections (and the 
leading newspapers abounded with editorials presenting that view) that ■ 
the war, even in its result of discomforture, would work out good to 
their children: in the removal of tendencies toward seclusion from the 
world, and the establishment of a more catholic national life; in the ex- 
tinguishment of the domestic tendency to withdraw to the isolation of 
large plantations, and the consequent introduction of wider social rela- 
tions; in the development of manufacturing enterprises, to follow upon 
a change in the nature of labor; in a fuller development of the agri- 
cultural resources by diversification of crops and a more intense culti- 
vation, etc. 

In December the New York Post, a radical paper, apropos of a recent 
bitter political speech made by Mr. Colfax, said: 

The Southern people claim that it is their intention to keep this oath, and they add 
that they do it cheerfully. Their leading men exhort them to attend to their private 
affairs and to submit honestly to their defeat. Now, to ask more of them at present, 
to ask them that they shall be glad and proud of their defeat, is to forget the nature 
of men's minds and hearts; it is to demand impossibilities. 

In November Gen. Grant had gone South on a tour of inspection 
connected with a question of the distribution of troops. In a report to 
the President, he said: 

I am satisfied that the mass of the thinking men of the South accept the present 
situation of affairs in good faith. The questions which have hitherto divided the 
sentiments of the people of the two sections, slavery and State rights, or the right of 


a State to secede from the Union, they regard as having been settled forever by the 
highest tribunal that man can resort to. 

This report the President, in his special message of December 18, 
submitted to Congress; and in that message he said: 

The people of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisi- 
ana, Arkansas, and Tennessee have recognized their respective State governments, 
and are yielding obedience to the laws and government of the United States with 
more willingness and greater promptitude than, under the circumstances, could have 
been reasonably anticipated. . . . The people throughout the entire South evince 
a laudable desire to renew their allegiance to the government, and to repair the dev- 
astation of the war by a prompt and cheerful return to peaceful pursuits. 

This message was at once violently assailed in the Senate. Mr. Sum- 
ner denounced it as a " whitewashing message." For the measures of 
President Johnson were far from giving satisfaction to the radical wing 
of the Eepublican party. Congress had no sooner met than there was 
a caucus of the Republicans on the question of the admission of the 
Southern Senators and Representatives chosen from and accredited by 
the reconstructed States. It was agreed to exclude these members from 
the preliminary roll; and in advance of the President's message, on the 
first day, in both Houses numerous bills were introduced, looking to a 
reversal of the President's policy of reconstruction. The New York 
Herald commented on these proceedings thus: 

These proceedings in both Houses clearly indicate an ultra radical and revolutionary 
system of Southern reconstruction as the policy resolved upon by the radical leaders 
of the Republican majority of this Congress. However improbable and visionary we 
may have been inclined heretofore to consider the remorseless propositions for South- 
ern reconstruction of such fanatical leaders as Stevens of the House and Sumner of 
the Senate, we are now brought face to face with the danger of their enforcement. 

The opening proceedings of the Lower House of this Congress foreshadow the 
practical reduction of the excluded Southern States to the status of Territories con- 
quered from a foreign enemy, and still in a state of revolt. Coercion ! There is noth- 
ing here but coercion. The radical leaders of this Congress seem to be enraged at the 
conciliatory sentiments of restoration adopted by President Johnson, and which, in 
preparing the minds of the Southern people for the great change which has come upon 
them, have been attended with most wonderful success. His patient and patriotic la- 
bors, in view of the earliest possible restoration of the South to law and order, indus- 
try, prosperity, and political harmony with the North, excite apparently no consider- 
ation among the majority in either House of Congress. 

The Southern people regarded these developments with the greatest 
interest and with a growing anxiety. Their State organizations had 
been recognized by the President as prepared for local government 
without further Federal intervention. They had chosen Senators and 
Representatives, in accordance with the President's programme. These 
officials had been carefully selected from those citizens who had op- 
posed secession, and were qualified as loyal under the tests prescribed 
in the President's proclamation. Whatever might be the legal attitude 
of the individuals who had participated in the rebellion, and however 


numerous those individuals might be, it was self-evident that, as the 
President said in his annual message, "States cannot commit treason." 
This was a question of the State's representation and status. 

The Southern people were versed in the lore of politics, and were 
thoroughly acquainted with the theories on which the United States, 
through every department of the government ( executive, legislative, and 
judicial) had justified, under the constitution, its armed resistance to 
their secession. They knew that these theories were that the ordinances 
adopted by the several States in their attempt to secede were utterly 
null and void, wholly without operation or effect ; that the citizens of 
the States remained citizens of the United States; and that the States, 
as such, did not either cease to exist (because they were indestructible), 
or get out of the Union (because that was indissoluble). They knew 
that the only claim ever made by the extremest Unionists rested still 
upon the constitution; by the constitution the Union had been formed, 
and the constitution was the ligament which bound the States together 
in the Union. To them it seemed the simplest and most unanswerable 
proposition that, the claim of the Union upon the States being through 
the constitution, it must be asserted in conformity to that instrument. 
They knew, also, that in the constitution was found no word which au- 
thorized or contemplated either the holding of indestructible States in 
subjection, or the forfeiture by those States of their rights in the 

They knew, also, and held in mind the Crittenden resolutions of 1861 
— adopted in the House with but two dissenting votes, and in the Senate 
by a vote of thirty to five, and by which the national faith was pledged 
that " This war is not prosecuted on our part in any spirit of oppression, 
nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose of over- 
throwing or interfering with the rights and established institutions of 
those States, but to maintain the supremacy of the constitution and all 
laws made in pursuance thereof, and to preserve the Union with all the 
dignity, equality, and rights of the several States unimpaired; that as 
soon as these objects are accomplished the war ought to cease"— on 
which pledge the war party in the North had received the earnest and 
efficient support of all its people and of many of the people of the 
Southern border States. 

They felt, moreover, what the President's message also stated, that 
the policy and action of the administration, accepted and acted upon by 
them, even to the extent of the emancipation of their slaves— or at least 
the ratification of that emancipation while there were doubts of its con- 
stitutionality—" implied an invitation to those States, by renewing their 
allegiance to the United States, to resume their functions as States in 
the Union." They had renewed their allegiance, and renewed it in 
good faith. They therefore expected to resume their interrupted 


"functions as States in the Union." When, however, they saw that 
Congress, instead of receiving their Eopresentatives and Senators, ex- 
cluded them with courtesy of the scantest; when they found that hos- 
tilities were, in fact, so far from being over that they were merely 
transferred from the battlefields to the legislative halls, they were 
disappointed and disgusted beyond measure. They began to conceive 
a profound conviction that, instead of confronting a great and magnan- 
imous people, who, although flushed by victory, would still because of 
their victory be reasonable and generous in their demands, they were 
opposed by a faction drunk with power and the lust of it, ready to claim 
everything and dare anything, within the constitution or out of it, to 
perpetuate their imperial dominance over the whole nation — a domi- 
nance given by the accidents and exigencies of civil war, and which 
could be continued into times of peace only by new disturbances and 
new animosities. It was not the people of the North, it was not even 
the Eepublican party; but it was the radicals — bold, grasping, reckless, 
and remorseless. 

The South saw Senator Howe rise in the Senate, reject the whole the- 
ory of the indestructibility of the States, declare that " it is poetical li- 
cense (and not political science) which talks of " their immortality, and 
maintain that the seceded States had become reduced to the mere con- 
dition of Territories, to be governed at the will of Congress. It saw 
Mr. Stevens, in the House, repudiate the doctrine and the pledge of the 
Crittenden resolutions, and deny the dignity, equality, and rights of the 
Southern States; saw him repudiate the dogma of an indestructible 
Union, and assert that "the future condition of the conquered power 
depends on the will of the conqueror;' saw him forsake the great char- 
ter of the constitution, and appeal to principles of international law, in 
order to uphold the heresy of States in subjection to the Union, avow- 
ing that "they must come in as neiv States, or remain as conquered 
provinces." Is it to be wondered at, that the suggestion of Virginia — 
the mother of statesmen and of States, the cradle of Patrick Henry 
and of Washington — as a conquered province of this Union was regard- 
ed in the South as a monstrosity, and filled every heart with indignation 
and a sense of outrage? 

But these inconsistencies and heresies were not all. The Southern 
people felt also, and felt deeply, the imputations freely made against 
their truth, their patriotism, and their honor. It was not upon inat- 
tentive ears, nor into indifferent minds, that the words of Mr. Stevens 
and his coadjutors fell. Said he, speaking of the former slave States: 
" They will at the very first election take possession of the White House 
and the halls of Congress. I need not depict the ruin that would fol- 
low. Assumption of the rebel debt or repudiation of the Federal debt 
would be sure to follow. The oppression of the f reedmen, the reamend- 


ment of their State constitutions, and the reestablishment of slavery 
would be the inevitable result." Their disquiet and sense of outrage 
at such imputations were not lessened, it is needless to say, by the prop- 
osition (which they regarded as the key to the whole situation), in the 
next breath, that " If they should grant the right of suifrage to persons 
of color, I think that there would always be Union white men enough 
in the South, aided by the blacks, to divide the representation, and 
thus " — what? continue freedom and equality to the negroes, and the 
integrity of the Union? by no means; but — "continue the Republican 

Snch statesmanship as this was winning the day, and people who had 
until then accepted the situation in good temper and faithfully, who 
were endeavoring to discharge their whole duty and heal the wounds of 
strife, despaired. They became embittered. They apprehended a dis- 
position to humiliate and degrade them. Even Mr. Stevens' Union men 
spoke with indignation. It was not for this they had bargained. They 
had predicted a generous responsiveness from the North, and they were 
twitted with their overconfidence. 

The months rolled by with matters in this very unsettled, unsatisfac- 
tory, and trying condition. The State governments organized by the 
Federal administration were in full operation, but their Federal rights 
continued to be withheld by the Federal Legislature. Things grew 
worse instead of improving. The Freedman's Bureau, established by 
the Act of March 3, 1865, was in power all over the Soiith, and was fast 
arraying the negroes solidly against their former owners in all political 
matters, and in many localities was causing great industrial trouble. 
President Johnson, who had in the prosecution of his independent re- 
construction measures arrayed the radical leaders against him, was 
making unfortunate and violent speeches throughout the country, "as- 
cribing to the leaders of Congress disloyal and even criminal motives," 
and thus further inflaming their opposition to himself and their hostil- 
ity to the South. A joint committee of fifteen, which had been ap- 
pointed by Congress to inquire into the condition of the seceding 
States, and to advise Congress in respect to the admission of Southern 
members, made a report of the most inflammatory character — admira- 
bly adapted and probably intended for a campaign document in the 
approaching Congressional election— wherein the most one-sided and 
unjust charges were made against the Southern people, and the conclu- 
sion of which was that "it was essential to the preservation of the 
Union that the Southern States should not be reinstated in their for- 
mer privileges until they should have given substantial pledges of loy- 
alty and submission." The Tenure of OfiSce act was passed, by which 
was taken away from the President (so far as an act of Congress would 
avail to strip him of his constitutional rights in that respect) the power 


of removing Federal officers from office without the consent of the Sen- 
ate, a power which had been exercised throughout the whole national 
history. A Civil Eights bill of stringent character was passed over the 
President's veto — based on doubts both of its wisdom and its constitu- 
tionality — whereby it was declared that " all persons born in the 
United States, and not subject to any foreign power," should be citi- 
zens of the United States; penalties were denounced "against all in- 
terference with the civil rights of any classes of citizens," and officers 
of the United States were given the right "to prosecute, and the Fed- 
eral courts alone the right to try all such offenses," its object being to 
make the negroes equal with the whites in all civil and political mat- 
ters. A fourteenth amendment to the Constitution was proposed to the 
States, which " made all persons born or naturalized in the United 
States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, citizens both of the 
United States and of the several States of their residence; provided, for 
a reduction of the congressional representation of any State that should 
withhold the elective franchise from any male citizens of the voting age; 
excluded from all offices. Federal and State, all persons who as State or 
Federal officers had taken an oath to support the Federal Constitution, 
and had afterwards engaged in the rebellion, or given aid or comfort 
to those engaged in it, until Congress should pardon them; invalidated 
all Confederate war debts, and prohibited any questioning of the Unit- 
ed States war debt, including pensions and bounties. This amendment 
at once swept away the President's amnesty, and incorporated into' the 
organic law of the Union, by an enforced ex post facto legislation, a 
principle hateful to all English-speaking people from time immemo- 
rial — the principle of the bill of attainder — ^theretofore expressly pro- 
hibited by the constitution itself, to Congress and the States alike. 
Now, however, the acceptance of it, with all its proscriptive features of 
their best and most intelligent people, by the Southern States was 
made an indispensable condition to their recognition by Congress. 
But those States, one after the other, rejected it — as, indeed, in honor 
they could do nothing else. 

These measures, however, unprecedented and revolutionary though 
they were, were still but the preliminaries to others more extraordinary 
and ruthless. Mr. Stevens, in his celebrated speech of December 18, 
1865, had said of the Southern reconstruction measures of President 
Johnson this: "That they [the Southern States] would disregard • and 
scorn their present constitutions, forced upon them in the midst of 
martial law, would be both natural and just. No one who has any re- 
gard for freedom oi elections can look upon these governments, forced 
upon them in duress, with any favor." Yet now, in 1867, the faction 
of which he was the most potent leader, in order to force upon those 
States such constitutions as Congress should approve, and in order to 


perpetuate the essential features of those constitutions by an equally 
enforced amendment to the Constitution of the United States, enacted 
and proceeded to enforce the reconstruction laws, whose only intended 
result Mr. Stevens had himself already expressly condemned. 

Those acts were three, passed on the 2d and the 23d of March and 
the 19th of July. The ten Southern States were divided into five mil- 
itary districts, under the command of officers of the army, to be as- 
signed thereto by the President. Each of these commanders was to 
have under his control troops enough to enforce his authority. The 
powers conferred upon them within their districts were almost unlim- 
ited. Subject only to the approval of the general of the army, they 
could remove any officer whose authority was derived from the local 
government of the States; and it was provided that "no district com- 
mander or member of the Board of Eegistratiou or any of the officers 
or appointees acting under them shall be bound in his action by any 
opinion of any civil officer of the United States." Thus was civil law 
absolutely subordinated to the military; and the general of the army, 
not the President, given supreme control. The commanders were 
themselves to conduct the process of reconstruction. "They were to 
enroll in each State, upon a test oath, all the male citizens of one 
year's residence not disqualified to vote by reason of felony, or ex- 
cluded under the terms of the proposed fourteenth amendment; and 
they were then to hold an election in each State for delegates to a 
State convention, in which only registered voters should be permitted 
to vote or to stand as candidates, the number of delegates to be chosen 
being apportioned according to the registered vote in each precinct. 
These conventions were to be directed to frame constitutions extending 
the franchise to all classes of citizens who had been permitted to vote for 
delegates; the constitutions so framed were to be submitted to the same 
body of voters for ratification, and if adopted were to be sent to Congress, 
through the President, for its approval. When its constitution should 
have been approved by Congress, each of the reconstructed States was 
to be readmitted to representation, so soon as its new Legislature had 
ratified the fourteenth amendment. Meanwhile, its government was to 
be deemed provisional only, and in all respects subject to the para- 
mount authority of the United States at any time to abolish, control, 
or supersede the same." * These bills were passed, of course, over the 
President's veto. In his message upon them he thus characterized 
their provisions: 

The power thus given to the commanding officers over all the people of each dis- 
trict is that of an absolute monarch. His mere will is to take the place of all law. . . . 
Such power has not been wielded by any monarch in England for more than five 
hundred years. In all that time no people who speak the English language have 
borne such servitude. 

♦"Division ami Rcnnion," Wilson, p. 267. 


But these acts did not only establish martial law in time of profound 
peace, did not only suspend the writ of habeas corpus and sweep away 
every vestige of republican government in ten States, did not only enact 
a bill of attainder against nine millions of people at once;'* they also 
invaded the recognized prerogative of the States, a prerogative recog- 
nized throughout the whole history of the Union, and recognized now, 
to determine upon whom the right of suffrage should be conferred; and 
while withdrawing that right from the great mass of the most intelli- 
gent and influential citizens contrary to the State laws and constitutions 
conferred it upon a million of ignorant and recently emancipated ne- 
groes, wholly unprepared by either traditions or education to act upon 
even the simplest political questions, and set those negroes to making 
constitutions which should not only dominate the fortunes and the lib- 
erties of the whites, but also establish themselves in power. 

The military <!ommanders entered at once upon the discharge of their 
duties. Their powers were dictatorial not only in political matters, but 
also in those appertaining to the ordinary bu.siness affairs of the commu- 
nity. They could abolish charters, extend franchises, stay the collec- 
tion of debts, prohibit the foreclosure of mortgages, levy taxes, impose 
fines, inflict penalties, authorize the issuance of bonds and the contract- 
ing of State debts, set aside the decision of the courts, remove all offi- 
cers, and fill all vacancies without the form of elections. 

They issued general orders, differing in some respects, but generally 
to the effect that the laws of the States would be enforced; that ofiicers 
engaged in the discharge of their duties would be continued except in 
cases where the commander should see proper to remove them for cause; 
and that the courts should continue to discharge their functions, sub- 
ject, however, to the intervention of military commissions and inspect- 
ors at the discretion of the commander. 

The practical operation of these measures was catastrophic. Shoals 
of unscrupulous adventurers appeared, few knew from whence. Loud 
in their professions of loyalty, they assumed the leadership of the inex- 
perienced, credulous, and timid blacks, infusing into their minds the 
most extravagant ideas of private rights and public duties, inspiring 
them with dislike of their former owners, and organizing them into 
leagues of secret nature, but political use. An extraordinary carnival 
of crime and plunder was opened. Bribery, embezzlement, perjury, in 
all forms ruled the hour. In a few months negro majorities gained 
complete control of the State governments, and these majorities were 
implicitly obedient to their white manipulators, the "carpetbaggers." 
The ranks of these latter gentry were to some extent reenforced by na- 
tive whites, who were even more detested by the Southern people under 
the name of " scalawags." Taxes were piled up and enormous debts were 

*" Three Decades of Federal Legislation," Cox, p. 377. 


accumulated, the proceeds of both of which went mainly into the pock- 
ets of these adventurers and the prominent negroes, their confederates. 
Happy indeed was that State whose credit was not good, for its disre- 
pute was its only salvation. No civilized country ever before had pre- 
sented such a scene. 

One of the most distinguished and honored gentlemen in Mississippi * 
said of these people in a public address delivered in 1875: 

The Government of the United States " proceeded to sponge out the constitutions 
of eleven great commonwealths, to overturn their governments, to reverse their social 
systems, and in effect to prescribe new constitutions for them. Unfortunately the 
party which controlled it sought to exhibit it, and did exhibit it, only in its aspect of 
boundless authority. In their hands it seemed to have unlimited power to tear down 
and to wound, without the power to build up and to heal. Confronted by the most 
novel and formidable social and political problem ever presented to the statesmanship 
of any country, and which, God be praised, can never again be presented in this, 
they recklessly turned over the Southern States thus dislocated as so much food to the 
lowest grade of hungry partisans, leaving the adjustment of the grave difficulties in- 
volved in these great fundamental changes to the most ignorant, narrow-minded, and 
Selfish class of men that ever bore sway in any country; men afflicted with what ap- 
pears like moral idiocy, and to whom the sense of public duty is as color to the blind. 
It is not to be wondered at that these men at once formed a partnership with the 
newly enfranchised slave — a most unequal partnership as it has turned out — to cap- 
ture and ' run' the State governments of the South. That which has followed might 
have been foreseen. ... I assure you that the fact has become known at last to the 
American people that the only oppression in the South is the oppression of the whites 
by colored majorities led by radicals. To my mind it has now become clear as the 
noonday sun that the only intimidation here is the intimidation by a few hundred 
radical adventurers of the whole population. With unparalleled audacity they 
threaten the whites with the Federal bayonet, and assuming that they alone can se- 
cure Federal aid they threaten the colored people that they will desert them and 
take from them this protection, so that they will be turned over to the white people, 

*Hon. Wiley P. Harris, a man ot "purest ray serene," whose wide and varied culture, profound 
legal learning, exceeding mental power, phenomenal intellectual integrity, devoted and unselfish 
patriotism, matchless calmness and wisdom in counsel, pure morality, and unfailing courtesy gave 
him a unique place in the affections and honor of Mississippians. This speech will he found in full 
in " Lowry & McCardle's Histoi-y of Mississippi." It was one of great conservatism. He was ad- 
vocating the policy ot cooperating with the liberal Republicans, led by Evarts, Schnrz, and Adams. 
He urged that they were marked by the logic of the situation as the true reformers of the Union. 
Amongst otlier striking remarks, the following: " For one I long to see a government at Washing- 
ton and a govei'nment here toward which I can feel a genuine sentiment of reverence and respect. 
It is a dreary life we lead here, with a national government ever gtispicious and ever frowning, 
imperious, and hostile; and a home government feeble, furtive, false, and fraudulent. Under such 
influences the feeling of patriotism must die out amongst us, and this will accomplish the ruin of a 
noble population. You might as well destroy the sentiment of religion as the sentiment of patriot- 
ism, for human character is a deformity if either be wanting. . , . We are in anew world, we 
are moving on a new plane. It is better that we hang a millstone about our necks than cling to 
these old issues. To cling to them is to perpetuate sectional seclusion. Of all things it will not do 
to fall into a hypochondi'iacal condition in politics. I pity the man who in a great crisis says to 
himself: 'I can't go there, becatise there is the old Whig line; nor there, because that is the Repub- 
lican line; nor there, because I will he compelled to cross the Democratic line.' It sometimes hap- 
pens that a man gets himself into such a condition of mental deluoion that old party lines or names 
are like mnning" water to a witch. Under some mysterious law or eccentric antipathy he can't cross 
them. It matters not where duty commands him to go or on what mission of patriotism he may be 
proceeding. If he chances to find one of thesi lines in his path, he is brought to a dead halt, and 
must needs turn and retrace his steps." 


who, as they falsely assert, will reduce them to a condition as bad as it was before 
emancipation. . . . The mass of blacks don't vote, but are literally voted. They 
are ridden and driven by a little nest of men who are alien to the State in feeling. 
I say in feeling because they habitually traduce the State when they go abroad. 
. . . But say our radical rulers: ' Look at the government of Mississippi and see if 
there be not this glimmer there ' — i. e., the glimmer of the light of honest or intelligent 
government. I confess that I don't see it. I have no great experience in government, 
but I have never conceived that anything like it was possible in a republic. Col. 
Lamar, whose word goes a long way, said the other day in his speech that it was the 
worst government on the face of the earth. The statebmanship of it has reached no 
higher than the levying of taxes, the issue of State warrants, and the funding thereof. 
■This might be borne, but the taxation is ruinous, while the credit of the State is sink- 
ing under corrupt and wasteful expenditures. The people murmur and the world scoffs 
at it. True, Gov. Ames is pleased to say that these murmurs are a disgusting sham. 'I 
pay more taxes than these howling' taxpayers.' Whep I read that part of his testimony 
in the Vicksburg case I was reminded of a passage in the book of Job. Job had been 
stripped of his wealth and of his children, and atflicted in many ways ; and he cried 
out in his agony. His comforters said to him, ' You are a howler; ' and Job replied, 
' Does the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder? ' The 
office holders and fee-and-salary men don't howl; they have both grass and fodder. 

" One more subject I will touch before concluding, and that is the charge brought 
against us of unfriendliness to people simply as Northern people, our disposition to 
ostracise them socially, and persecute them in every way. This is called disloyalty. 
There is a class of people in the United States who have made the art of manufactur- 
ing and spreading falsehoods, and public falsehoods at that, take rank amongst the 
great industries of this busy people. A distinguished man to whom I made this re- 
mark said: ' Yes, and you may say that there is a prodigious and higlily cultivated 
talent for believing falsehoods which nourishes the industry.' 

" On this matter of social ostracism I have this to say : If any two hundred Southern 
men backed by a Federal administration should go to Indianapolis, turn out the Indi- 
ana people, take possession of all the seats of power, hono?-, and profit, denounce the peo- 
ple at large as assassins and barbarians, introduce corruption in all the branches of 
the public administration, make government a curse instead of a blessing, league with 
the most ignorant class of society to make war on the enlightened, intelligent, and 
virtuous, what kind of social relations would such a state of things beget between Mr. 
Morton and his fellow-citizens and the intruders? When these people' first flocked 
into the State they thought or assumed that they represented the majesty of an of- 
fended nation, and like the order of men to which they belong expected to act the 
part of public patrons, to be surrounded by clients, and to pass amongst us amid sa- 
lams and genuflections ; but they were instantly undeceived. 

" We have ever since the war prayed earnestly that the true representatives of the 
Northern people might come among us : their mechanics, their farmers, their profes- 
sional men, the representatives of their industries. We got only the chevalier d'indus- 
trie, and we know him at sight. A gentleman (a Republican), visiting the South last 
winter to satisfy himself on this and other points, said: 'When I saw the great "os- 
tracised," and reflected upon what they had done here, I said to myself: ' These men 
would be ostracised anywhere.' " They have diligently labored to create the belief 
that Northern men cannot live here without humiliation and without danger of vio- 
lence. Now the class of men we want they don't want. That is clear. Their Com- 
missioner of Immigration has, 'for agricultural and other purposes,' introduced three 
thousand colored men into the State, and not a single white man, unless it be some 
vagabond who wanted a free passage. They sav to the Northern man, ' Beware of 
man traps and spring guns ; ' and to the negro, ' Come on, there is no danger.' Truly 

150 LUCIUS Q. a LAMAS.- 

there is none. Does It not stand to reason that if we can tolerate the cla=s of North- 
ern men we have here as rulers we can tolerate the Northern farmers or mechanics 
or professional men as neighbors? 

"All this wretched and contemptible drivel passes now for nothing with the real 
men of the North. The radical coterie here but poorly represents the Northern peo- 
ple. They miserably misconceive them. The plain truth of tlie matter is, these men 
wish to disguise what it is that carries men to Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, and the 
arid plains of Colorado, and prevents them coming to this fruitful land. It is just 
this: No sane man, being well out of Mississippi with his wife, children, and property, 
would trust them to the tender mercies of such a government as we have here. It is 
pretended that a narrative of the lives of these so-called persecuted men, if put into a 
bobk, would shelve Fox's ' Book of Martyrs.' Now let me ask if the most pronounced 
carpetbaggers and South haters here look like persecuted men? They grow so rapidly 
in sleekness and fatness that I have to be introduced to them over and over again— 
they do so improve out of my acquaintance. Minds at ease and consciences at rest is 
written in their ' placid ' countenances. Yet they cry out like St. Paul : ' Verily, I die 
daily.' Good-natured fellows they are, too, in their way. There is an old adage w hich 
says that ' a man is good after being fed.' " 

Such were the men to whom the South was delivered. It was such 
as they who in Virginia complained of the moderate administration of 
Gen. Stoneman, in that he did not make enough places for them to fill, 
that he did not appoint negroes to offices, that he did not make the peo- 
ple of the State sufficiently anxious to get back into the Union ; and to 
appease and satisfy whom President Grant relieved the General from 
the command of the district. 

Not only were they intrusted with the offices and all power for the 
time being, and with the creation of the organic law for the States which 
they had seized upon and reviled; but, also, arrangements were made 
for the continuance of their power, even after the removal of the bayo- 
net rule. On March 11, 1868, an act of Congress was passed by which it 
was provided that the constitutional conventions might authorize the 
election of all the representatives in Congress and all the State officers 
provided for by the constitutions, by the voters already registered, and 
at the election to be held on the question of ratifying the constitutions 
themselves. Thus, although the new constitutions in some instances en- 
franchised those whom the reconstruction laws disfranchised, still this 
legislation " authorized the district commanders to cheat these classes 
out of their rights " by ordering the elections before they could qualify.* 
Through this means the ratification of the fourteenth amendment by the 
required number of States was secured. This ratification, under the 
terms of the constitution of the United States, could not be done by the 
conventions then in session, pliant though they were, but only by the 
"Legislatures;" and thus were the Legislatures organized to that end, 
free from the obstructive influence of the recently reenfranchised whites. 

By such processes constitutions were secured in all of the States ex- 

*" Three nceacles ol Federal Legislation," Cox, p. 483. 


cept Virginia, Mississippi, and Texas; and in the summer of 1868 they 
were readmitted to representation, and the military rule terminated 
shortly afterwards. For the three excepted States, however, further 
and harsher measures yet were necessary. Virginia had failed to rati- 
fy the constitution formed, the convention having omitted to make any 
provision for its submission to the people, because a split had taken 
place in the Republican ranks over its proscriptive provisions, and its 
defeat was feared. In Mississippi the same proscriptive provisions, 
notwithstanding the presence of the military in sixty different places 
through the State, had caused the rejection of the constitution in the 
election of 1868. In Texas the new constitution was not adopted until 
December, 1868, and was not ratified until November, 1869. For these 
three States, therefore, a joint resolution t^as adopted by Congress, in 
March, 1869, declaring that all offices held by persons who could not 
take the test oath of nonparticipation in the rebellion — even to the ex- 
tent of giving aid or countenance to persons engaged in it, etc. — should 
be vacated, and should be filled by persons who could take the oath. 
This step, of course, swept out all of the few genuine Southern people who 
were yet in office in those States. There was even difficulty in finding 
carpetbaggers enough to fill all of the offices, and for months many va- 
cancies continued in the retired counties. In Mississippi, during the 
spring of 1869, in certain counties licenses for marriage could not be 
obtained, and the clergymen who performed the ceremonies without 
them were liable to fines of one hundred dollars in each instance, al- 
though it is believed that such fines were never in fact imposed. 

During the year 1869 the constitutions of the three delayed States 
were ratified, a separate submission of the objectionable franchise and 
test-oath features being made in Virginia and Mississippi, and those 
features being rejected. Early in 1870, therefore, those States also 
were readmitted to Congress. But it must not be imagined that, for 
this reason, the dark days of reconstruction were over. True, the Sen- 
ators and Representatives were seated, and the military commanders were 
gone, but the carpetbaggers and all which they signified were still dom- 
inant in the land. Troops of soldiery were stationed all through the 
States, recognized to be so placed as posses comitatus for the civil author- 
ities. Just in proportion as the white people were more disliked by the 
carpetbaggers than they had been by the army officers, did these troops 
now become a greater menace to their peace; and, on the other hand, 
just as the people had respected the army officers, and did despise the 
carpetbagger or scalawag sheriff or mayor, so now was that menace the 
more hateful to them, and the more provoking. They felt that so long 
as that condition should continue the equality and dignity of the States 
were not restored. It did continue, and those evil people did maintain 
their supremacy by the power of the army, in part, for a number of 


years longer. It was only upon the installation of President Hayes, in 
1877, that the troops were wholly withdrawn. 

Grave as were all of these great political questions, and exasperating 
to the Southern people as was the manner in which they were dealt with 
by Congress, still a further irritant was the working in their midst of the 
Freedman's Bureau. This Bureau was not by any means a charitable 
institution merely. It was also, both in its structural capabilities and 
in its practical operation, a great political engine, and one felt by the 
South to be most pernicious to all true philanthropic and patriotic ob- 
jects. Organized in the spring of 1865, for the purpose of aiding the 
freedmen by the allotment to them, on easy terms, of government lands, 
for the distribution of vast sums in largess, and for other forms of 
charity, its injudicious and prodigal expenditures fostered in the negroes 
a spirit of idleness and dependence to which already they were but too 
prone.* Allotting to the freedmen, in forty-acre tracts, government 
lands by whatever tenure held, including in theory lands to be acquired 
by confiscation; in charge of a commissioner who recommended to the 
President that he should exact of every Southern man who should ap- 
ply for a pardon a provision out of his lands for such freedmen as had 
been his slaves, as a condition to the grant of pardon; excluding all 
persons except freedmen and loyal refugees from the privilege of pre- 
empting or homesteading government lands, to the extent of thi-ee mil- 
lion acres — all produced in the minds of the negroes, under suggestion, 
it is to be feared, of agents of the Bureau, an idea that they were to be 
given the property of their former masters, and threatened serious 
troubles.f Introduced into every county, and placed exclusively under 
the management of either "carpetbaggers" or officers of the army, it 
became in the eyes of the freedmen a visible sign, everywhere and al- 
ways, that the whites were deposed from authority. Backed by details 
of soldiery; empowered to act on all interests touching the blacks, even 
to the extent of nullifying judgments of the civil courts, and even on 

* Gen. Grant, in his report to the Presirlent of December, 1865, already quoted, saitl : " Conversa- 
tions with officers connected with the Bureau led me to think . . that' the belief widely spread 
among the freedmen of the Southern States that the lands of their former owners will, in part at 
least, be divided amongst them, has come from the agents of this Bureau. This belief is seriously 
interfering with the willingness of the freedmen to make contracts for the coming year. ... In 
some oases, I am sorry to say, the freedman's mind does not seem to be disabused of the idea that 
the freedman has the right to live without provision for the future. The efl'ect of the belief in the 
division of the land is idleness and accumulations in camps, towns, and cities. In such cases I 
think it will be found that vice and disease will lead to the extermination or great destruction of 
the colored race." 

+ In December, 1863, there was a stampede of the people from the country in Warren County, 
Miss., to the city of Vicksbvirg for protection; the negroes were reported as arming and demand- 
ing lands by Christmas, else they would take them by force. Two years later Gov. Humphreys, on 
the suggestion of Gen. Ord, District Commander, issued a proclamation, calling attention to the 
fact that widespread and well-vouched reports were current of conspiracies amongst the blacks, in- 
stigated by white men, to seize lands, even if it precipitated a war; and warning the blacks that 
they would receive no support from the Ignited States in such conduct, and enjoining upon the 
■whites to treat the negroes kindly and justly. 


matters so simple and unpolitical as the collection of wages and debts; 
and doing its work not by the due process of law, but by a military or- 
der or by a court martial— its tendency was to create in the minds of 
the blacks both a suspicion of the laws of the State and a belief that 
they were outside of and superior to those laws.* Filled, as its offices 
principally were, with men who were adventurers, bargainers, blackmail- 
ers, seekers after office, the negroes were banded into clubs and leagues 
needless for any legitimate purpose, taught to parade the streets in mil- 
itary array with arms and drums, were massed to be voted, and so were 
taught to regard the Southern whites as their political enemies by na- 
ture; while, on the other hand, the whites themselves were inspired with 
disgust for the Bureau and contempt for its work, and also with a de- 
spair of ever reaching the reason of the negroes in political matters by 
any argument or appeal. 

It would be difficult to place a refined and honorable people in a sit- 
uation more cruel than was produced by all of those combinations of 
affairs. Not only had they been utterly impoverished, not only had 
they seen swept away, as they believed, the last vestige of the doctrine 
of State sovereignty (a doctrine which they had beeu reared to con- 
sider the palladium of their civil liberties); but also, in the very fact 
of their double disaster, they were brought face to face with a Gorgo- 
nian problem which had frowned upon the nation for nearly a century. 

What could five millions of whites do with over four millions of newly 
and suddenly emancipated slaves, who were not only ignorant, but also 
were of the almost hopeless African race? How were the molds of na- 
ture to be altered, and a people whose racial characteristics were want of 
personal ambition and absence of either personal or national initiative, 
whose veins were filled with indolent tropical blood, freed from the 
domination of their masters, and tempted by the soft climate of the 
South to pass their lives in uncontrolled idleness, to be energized and 
elevated into the life of the Anglo-Saxon? How was the leopard to be 
made to change his spots, and the Ethiopian his skin? Seventy-seven 
years before, JefPerson, the great founder and leader of the State 
Eights school of politics, the author of the Declaration of Independ- 
ence, himself an ardent abolitionist, had dismissed the question of 
emancipation from his mind in despair of any solution of these prob- 
lems, saying that " nothing is more certainly written in the book of 
fate than that these people are to be free; nor is it less certain that the 
two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government." His 

*In General Order No. 31, of August 16, 1866, from Vicksburg, Gen. Wood declared that " infor- 
mation has been received at these headquarters that in various parts of this State parties engaged 
in planting, since the termination of the active work of making the crops, are dischai-ging the freed 
people whom they hired for the year, without settling fully with them for their previous labor. 
. . . The commission of such outrages on the rights of the freed people will not be permitted in 
this department, and in such portions of the State as it may be reported to occur a military force 
will be stationed toprevent it." 


first proposition had proven a prophecy, although the Constitiition of 
the United States was against it; could the latter be falsified? 

It soon became clear that the problem which had dismayed Mr. 
Jefferson was much overmatched by that which was now presented to 
the South; for besides all the difficulties inherent in the nature of the 
case, certain others, unnecessary and very grave, had been created by 
the Federal Government, by the reconstruction laws, and by the work- 
ing of the Freedman's Bureau. The good faith and honesty of the 
South in dealing with the question were denied in limine; the experi- 
ence and special knowledge of her people touching the capabilities and 
needs of the negroes, arising from two hundred years of most intimate 
and affectionate relations, were cast aside; suspicion and distrust of 
the whites, as such, were inspired into the breasts of the colored peo- 
ple, and they were marshaled into adverse affiliations on the basis of 
their color; and finally, and worst of all, the influence and controlling 
power of the Southern people were nullified, and the administration of 
all public affairs was practically placed in the hands of the negroes 
themselves, for the avowed purpose that they might protect themselves 
against white "aggressions." Thus, while by the facts of the case and 
by the laws of nature a state of vigilant and wise tutelage was impera- 
tively dem'anded, the fiat of party as imperatively decreed that a full 
and unchallenged equality of all public-social, and political rights 
should be extended, at once and without reserve. This unwise de- 
mand, which substituted idealistic theories for inflexible facts, and 
required of the South that she should stake her whole future upon the 
experiment, was decreed in terms so stern that there was no avoiding 
it. It was useless to inquire of the hand at the helm: What can you 
do if we refuse to obey your orders? All things were felt to be possi- 
ble in the way of coercion, since that was done which had been done. 
Threats were heard from every quarter that if reconstruction, on the 
plan prescribed, were not effected, and effected speedily, by the white 
vote, it would be without; and suggestions were not wanting from 
those high in power and place that if more were needed confiscations 
and banishments would follow. 

It would be a task ungracious and unprofitable indeed, and one of 
great labor besides, to detail all of the irritations and wounds from 
which the South suffered during that unhappy decade. The half of 
them has never been told, and probably never will be; but enough has 
been set forth to indicate their general nature and extent. The result 
of it all was that as the months passed away and the South saw that 
the repose which it so greatly needed and had expected came not, nor 
would be permitted to come except under conditions which it regarded 
as needless, humiliating, and dangerous, the conviction became gen- 
eral and deeply seated that what was desired and intended by the 


party in power was not a restored Union of equal States, but a sub- 
jected South, a dominant North, and a radical faction ruling all. The 
painful and exasperating belief gained ground daily that nothing 
which the Southern people could say or do, no vote which they might 
cast or withhold, would avail anything to change the course of their 
destiny; that the rights of American citizens and the Constitution of 
the United States were to be to them never a shield, but always a flam- 
ing sword. No palliating faith in the patriotism, the law-abiding 
spirit, or the philanthropy of their rulers existed. The whole history 
of the struggles between the North and the South had generated in 
the minds of the Southern people a profound skepticism in respect to 
the existence of the one and the others. Distrust of the Northern 
spirit and hostility to the Northern people, such as all the fortunes of 
war and all the bitterness of surrender had failed to arouse, began to 
stir in the South; and her people began to look upon their brethren of 
the North as possessed by a cruel hatred which rejoiced to believe evil, 
and by a malignancy which would stop at no wrongs or oppressions. 

However, in course of time this deplorable condition of feeling be- 
came somewhat relieved. When the dust and turmoil of the impeach- 
ment of the President and of the reconstruction had somewhat sub- 
sided, leading Southern statesmen (the very persons whom the radi- 
cals denounced and disfranchised), men of acute instincts and broad 
political vision, saw that by no means all of the Northern people, nor 
even a majority of them, were really inimical to the South, but, on the 
contrary, were truly anxious for a full and equal restoration of all the 
States and the prompt resumption of normal relations; that the harsh 
and oppressive measures to which the Southern people had been sub- 
jected did not spring from a universal desire to humiliate and sup- 
press, but from a conviction, honestly if even mistakenly entertained, 
that those measures were the quickest and surest way to accomplish 
those desirable ends, and to secure at the same time what were regard- 
ed as the legitimate results of the war. The moderate wing of the Re- 
publican party, led by such men as Schurz, Evarts, and Adams, came 
to be kindly regarded and their utterances received with favorable ears. 
But in this softening of the sterner mood there was no moral amnesty 
toward the leading radicals. For them, for those who under the guid- 
ance of Mr. Stevens and Mr. Morton waved the " bloody shirt," the South- 
ern mind has never had aught but a judgment of the sternest reprehen- 
sion. They are not believed to have been moved by any lofty, or even 
pardonable, motives in their institution of the coercive measures of 
1867, but only by party zeal and the determination to control the pat- 
ronage and revenues of the nation at all hazards and all costs. 


Reconstruction in Mississippi— Ejection of Gov. Clarke — Constitutional Convention of 
1865— Gov. Humphreys — Col. Lamar on the Situation in 1866— Legislation of 1865 
and 1867 about Freedmen — Rejection of Fourteenth Amendment — The Fourth Re- 
construction District — Participation or No? — Constitution of 1868-69— Removal of 
Gov. Humphreys — Adelbert Ames, Military Governor — Louis Dent and Election of 
1869— Gov. Alcorn— The KuKlux Prosecutions— Col. Lamar in Retirement— The 
New Outlook. 

THE ills consequent upon the war and attending the process of re- 
construction bore with full weight upon the State of Mississippi. 
But through all of their troubled political history during this period 
her people deported themselves with great moderation and dignity. 

On the 22d of May, 1865, and shortly after the surrender of Gen. 
Taylor, the Governor, Charles Clarke, was ejected from his oflSce in the 
most summary manner by the Federal officials, and incarcerated in Fort 
Pulaski. His last official act was the appointment of a commission to 
proceed at once to Washington for the purpose of securing from the 
President, if possible, terms favorable to the peace and welfare of the 
State. One member of this commission was Judge Sharkey, whom the 
President afterwards appointed Provisional Governor. 

The proclamation by which Gov. Sharkey convened the convention of 
1865 closed with these words: 

The business of improving our government, if it should be found to need it, and of 
promoting reconciliation between the Northern and the Southern people are now 
prominent duties before us, so that we may hereafter live in a more secure and per-' 
feet enjoyment of the great patrimony left us by our fathers, and so that those who 
are to come after us may long enjoy, in their fullest functions, the inestimable bless- 
ing of civil liberty, the best birthright and noblest inheritance of mankind. 

A study of the composition of the convention by one familiar with 
the personalities of the previous political history of Mississippi dis- 
closes, in a most striking manner, the temper of the people in respect to 
.their future course. It may be safely asserted that no deliberative body 
ever assembled in the State composed of men whose abilities were 
greater, whose social position and influence were higher, or whose po- 
litical views and counsel were more respected. But their presence in 
this convention indicated a recognition by the people of the necessity for 
a new departure in their policy. The leading members were in full ac- 
cord with the sentiments of Gov. Sharkey. Of the ninety-eight dele- 
gates, seventy were Whigs, or members of the old Constitutional-Union 
party. There were only thirteen whose politics had been in sympathy 
with the movement for secession. Its President was the Hon. J. Shall 
Yerger, universally loved and honored through the State, an ardent 


and most efficient leader of the Whigs, and one of the fifteen ■who, in 
the Secession Convention, had voted against the ordinance. Immedi- 
ately upon its organization Gen. W. T. Martin, formerly a distinguished 
officer of the Confederate army, introduced a resolution, which was 
unanimously adopted, tendering to Gen. Osterhaus, commandant of 
the district, the freedom of the House, remarking jocalarly that he felt 
more pacifically disposed than formerly. This courtesy Gen. Osterhaus 
duly acknowledged as a "friendly invitation," from which he experi- 
enced a "justifiable pride and pleasure." 

Of this convention Mr. Cox says that it "did some notable work. 
It did enough to disarm even the radicals, if the latter had not been 
determined to make the South the stronghold of their party." * It de- 
clared the ordinance of secession null and void, abolished slavery, and 
repealed all laws passed in aid of the rebellion. 

An election was held under the amended constitution for Governor 
and other State officers. Congressmen, and members of the State Legis- 
lature. By the common consent of both of the old parties Benjamin 
G. Humphreys was chosen for Governor. This gentleman, although he 
had served in the Confederate army, and with such credit as to attain 
the rank of brigadier general, had been a consistent Old Line Whig 
and an earnest opponent of secession. He was, as his memory is to-day, 
most highly esteemed throughout the State for his many sterling qual- 
ities and his simple and courageous nature. In his inaugural address 
to the Legislature, whic'h met on the 16th of October, 1865, he said: 

I have always believed that no one or more States could constitutionally sever the 
ties that unite the people of the several States into one people. Yet I am not un- 
mindful that a different doctrine was taught in the early stages of our government, 
and was maintained by some of the brightest intellects and most illustrious patriots 
that adorn our political history. 

The South, haing ventured all on the arbitrament of the sword, has lost all save her 
honor; and now accepts the result in good faith. It is our duty to address ourselves 
to the promotion of peace and order: to the restoration of law, the faith of the con- 
stitution, and the stability and prosperity of the Union ; to cultivate amicable rela- 
tions with our sister States, and establish our agricultural and commercial prosperity 
upon more durable foundations. 

In Jane, 1866, is heard the first expression from Col. Lamar of his 
views as to the political situation; and that is at the Commencement of 
the university, in presenting prize medals to the successful declaimers 
of the sophomore class. He made " one of the happiest efforts of his 
life." His speech was " most eloquent and impressive. In alluding to 
the condition of the country and her future prospects, the Colonel 
seemed to be not quite so hopeful of the situation as the orator who had 
preceded him. He did not think that there was even the shadow of the 
doctrine of State rights left, and he deemed it cruel to delude the people 

♦"Three Deoailes," p. 392. 


with false views as to our present status, and with false hopes as to the 
future. He could see no liberty when a political line is drawn with 
right on the one side and on the other power. He was of the opinion 
that all that is left for the South is the moral and intellectual culture 
of her people, and these were worthy of her highest efforts." * After 
this utterance, which was wholly informal and impromptu, at a purely 
literary festival. Col. Lamar gave no further public expression of his 
political ideas until the year 1871; but maintained an unbroken silence 
in the seclusion of his professorial and professional life. 

Meanwhile events progressed. The second session (called) of the 
Legislature convened in October, 1866. In his message to that body 
Gov. Humphreys congratulated the people of the State upon the with- 
drawal of the negro troops from the State, and upon the transfer of the 
business of the Freedman's Bureau to the control of officers of the reg- 
ular army, from which facts he hoped for better things; beyond them, 
however, he saw but little in the political horizon to cheer the patriot 
or excite the hopes of our citizens. The proposed amendments to the 
constitution, " which, if adopted, will destroy the rights of the States 
and of the people and centralize all the powers of government in the 
Federal head," were pressed by the radical Congress. Then the Gov- 
ernor said: 

As the chief magistrate of the State I have secjulously avoided all collision with 
the Federal power, and have yielded obedient acquiescence in every cafe of usurpa- 
tion and wrong inflicted upon our citizens by Federal authority. Our people are 
wearied of war, its desolation, its vandalism. They have returned to their allegi- 
ance to the Constitution of the United States. They now seek for peace, its quiet, and 
security, by submission to its power. 

This Legislature, at its previous session in 1865, had passed such laws 
as it conceived were needed to provide for the changes in social and 
industrial conditions flowing from the emancipation. It accordingly 
enacted three or four statutes, which, together with similar acts adopted 
by the Legislatures of other Southern States, became known as the 
Black Codes. Those enactments placed the negroes far in advance of 
their civil condition as slaves, but by no means gave them full equality 
in all respects with the whites. The most, important discriminations 
were those whereby colored persons were left disqualified to acquire 
real estate, except in towns under certain conditions; whereby they 
could be arrested as deserters by their employers and carried back to 
their work, in case they should have made binding contracts for service 
during definite terms and should quit such service without good cause 
(right of appeal to the courts being carefully secured); and whereby 
certain more stringent definitions of, and punishment for, crimes of cer- 
tain classes committed by negroes against the persons and property of 
whites, were retained in force. 

* Correspondence of the Clarion. 


These discriminations proved most unfortunate in their political re- 
sults. The radicals seized upon them as proofs that the Southern peo- 
ple were intent on violating the principle of liberty, while yielding its 
name; and, in the absence of those interpreting and modifying lights 
which only a thorough knowledge of Southern social conditions and of 
the temper of the Southern people toward the negroes could supply, 
the masses of the Northern people accepted for the time being that un- 
charitable and sinister theory, and the harshness of the reconstruction 
measures became possible. 

It does not enter into the scope of this work to comment upon or ex- 
plain those acts. They are susceptible of explanation wholly consistent 
with Southern, honor and generosity. They were well meant. If the 
situation had been disembarrassed of the supervision, suspicion, and 
dictation of Congress, they would not have been so ill contrived, if ad- 
ministered in a humane and liberal manner, to accomplish the ends de- 
signed. The conditions were altogether anomalous and unprecedented. 
Human experience furnished no guides. Any legislation must have 
been, as this was, altogether tentative; but a special misfortune of this 
legislation was that, while it was designed to be tentative toward a 
larger liberty, Congress chose to construe it as being tentative toward 
a resumption, in effect, of bondage. It will be for the calmer thought 
of later philosophical historians to determine how far it was justifiable 
or excusable, under the circumstances. Meanwhile Congress neither 
admitted justification nor allowed excuse, and the South suffered. 

In respect to those statutes Gov. Humphreys, in his message of Oc- 
tober, 1866, said to the Legislature: 

Immediately after your adjournment, in December, 1865, 1 appointed Hon. William 
Yerger, of Hinds County, and Hon. J. M. Acker, of Monroe County, commissioners to 
visit Washington City and lay these laws before the President, and to request him to 
indicate which of them the military authorities in the State would be permitted to 

The President, in his reply, gave them full assurance that none of them should be 
nullified except by the civil courts of the land. . . . While the Civil Rights Bill 
cannot be received as a rule for your guidance, the interests of the white race will be 
subserved by the relaxation of the rigidity of our laws, which, in order to guard soci- 
ety against threatening evils, was rendered necessary. Public justice to both races de- 
mands the admission of negro testimony in all cases brought before the civil and crim 
inal courts. And, now that the negro has shown a confiding and friendly disposition 
toward the white race, and a desire to engage in the pursuits of honest labor, justice 
and honor demand of us full protection to his person and property, real and personal. 

Accordingly the Legislature, in February, 1867, repealed all of the 
discriminating features of the laws, except that which required negroes 
to fulfill their term contracts for service, the retention of which was 
deeme,d imperatively demanded by the peculiar nature of the cotton 
crop and of the contracts (involving large advances to irresponsible la- 
bor) under which it was produced. This action was taken prior to the 


passage of the reconstruction laws; nor was it produced by apprehen- 
sion of those laws, for the same Legislature, in January, by a joint reso- 
lution unanimously refused to ratify the fourteenth amendment. 

The reasons for that action were set forth in a learned and statesman- 
like document, submitted by a joint committee, of which the Chairman 
was Hon. H. F. Simrall, a distinguished lawyer (later a judge of the su- 
preme court), an old Whig, who soon afterwards affiliated with the mod- 
erate wing of the Republican party. The points made by the report 
were these: The danger of disturbances in the working of the Federal 
system, arising from the sudden introduction of new elements so vast 
and untried, upon the mere suggestion of theories, and in the absence 
of any experience showing the need of such action; that the amendment 
attempts to force upon the States new rules in respect to the elective 
franchise, the object being to compel the acceptance of negro suffrage, 
while suffrage itself is not a natural right, and is withheld from many 
persons more intelligent, and while the subject-matter has always been 
committed to State control ; that the amendment degraded and disfran- 
chised the most intelligent, useful, and respectable class of Southern 
citizens, in a form most odious and tyrannical, by ex post f ado law; that 
the Federal Constitution itself prescribed the mode of its amendment, 
and this amendment was not constitutionally submitted to the Legisla- 
tures for their adoption, since it had been passed by a Congress from 
which the Senators and Representatives of el6ven States were compul- 
sorily excluded, at the same time that Congress was estopped by the 
whole course of the legislative, administrative, and judicial history of 
the United States since the outbreak of the war (which was elaborately 
reviewed) to assert that those States were not members of the Union. 

This able report embraced, as one of its opening paragraphs, the 
following clear and unequivocal statement of its position as to the ex- 
isting status: 

The Civil War has closed with two facts indisputably established, universally ac- 
cepted, and recognized by the people of the South: First, that slavery is forever abol- 
ished ; second, that the Federal Union is indissolvable. 

The Legislature had hardly adjourned when the reconstruction law, 
or Military Bill, as it was then called, was passed by Congress, and 
was put into operation by the administration. Mississippi, with Arkan- 
sas, was established as the fourth district, and Gen. E. O. C. Ord placed 
in command. The important question immediately arose as to the 
course to be adojited by the people of the State in respect to those 
measures. Should they turn their faces toward the future wholly, and, 
submitting with as good grace as they could muster to the ungracious 
inevitable, take active part in the reorganization of the State govern- 
ment? or should they decline to take any part whatever in these revo- 
lutionary proceedings, and leave the matter wholly to the Federal au- 


thorities, to make or mar as they might through the agency of the ne- 
gro votes? The newspapers instituted a symposium upon these vital 
questions, to which many of the most prominent men of the State con- 
tributed open letters. Their opinion, to which the papers generally 
acceded, was in favor of adopting the former course. Public opinion 
formed, with wonderful rapidity, in favor of acquiescence and an active 
and patriotic participation. Many who, in the first impulse of resent- 
ment at the rigors of the law, had declared their opposition to any recon- 
struction upon the basis projected, on more mature reflection renounced 
their position; and multitudes who had halted between two opinions 
finally took stand openly in favor of reconstruction — not through ap- 
proval of the scheme, but as a choice between two evils. Public meet- 
ings were held, with the usual accessories of barbecues, speaking, etc., 
in the interest of "participation." To the committee for one of those 
meetings Judge Harris said in an open letter, in June, 1867: 

It will be a source of lasting regret that we — the white and the colored people of 
the State — were not left free to work out this problem for ourselves, and the consid- 
erations of a common country, a common interest, and a common destiny permitted 
by their natural and inevitable influence to draw the two races together; and I fear 
that it will be the source of many calamities to both that now, when the power of the 
ballot is placed in the hands of the colored people, the exigencies of a party in the United 
States should lead to an attempt to incite them to regard their countrymen and neigh- 
bora as enemies, and to separate themselves from the white people in devising and 
maturing the measures which a common interest and destiny demand at this time. 
We cannot live here as enemies of each other. If we begin in enmity, we will surely 
end in disaster and ruin. All measures, therefore, which look to the establishment 
of trust and confidence between the two races Ought, by all means, to be encouraged. 

As the summer drew on, however, and the election of delegates to the 
Reconstruction Convention approached, this conciliatory and wise tem- 
per was disturbed by the arrogance and hostility of the administration, 
both national and local. The " participators " lost ground rapidly. Hon. 
D. 0. Glenn, one of the most highly gifted and generous of Mississippi- 
ans, wrote to Mr. Lamar, under date of September 22, that 

My long trip through the North and "West has sent me home utterly unrecon- 
structed. I am cured of that. My opinion now is that all should register who can, 
and vote against a convention. Let the South hold herself ever free to war on these 
satrap bills. 

Prom such influences so great a coldness arose toward the new order 
that when the election was held many voters remained away from the 
polls. In consequence of this fact, perhaps, it resulted that the ques- 
tion of the convention was carried, and also the delegates elected were 
almost wholly radicals and negroes. 

The convention convened on the 7th of January, 1868. Its member- 
ship and temper was such as to make it utterly obnoxious to the people 
of the State. It plundered the treasury. It insulted the people and 


the State in every debate. It grasped at supreme power. It not only 
derided the sorrows of the stricken State, but also jeered at its protests. 
"A committee was appointed to prepare a memorial to Congress, asking 
for power to remove the State officials appoi*ited or elected under the 
provisional government, and to appoint others in their stead. A protest 
against this memorial, repelling the charge that the provisional govern- 
ment was in the hands of the rebels, and that the lives and property of 
loyal men were insecure, was signed by fifteen members; but it was not 
allowed to be entered on the journal. The convention, by a vote of fifty 
to nineteen, ordered the protest to be 'wrapped in brown paper and re- 
turned to its author.' " * 

The constitution proposed by this convention was proscriptive in 
the extreme in its franchise features. It was placed before the people 
for ratification. At the same time measures were taken for the elec- 
tion of State and county officers, to serve under the new constitution 
if it should be ratified. 

The error of the preceding year was not to be repeated. An active 
canvass was made by the whites in opposition to the ratification, and a 
full Democratic ticket was put into the field, which was headed by 
Gov. Humphreys, as a candidate for reelection. The radical candi- 
date was B. B. Eggleston, the late President of the convention — " Buz- 
zard " Eggleston, he was called. The election, held on the 22d and 23d 
of June, resulted in the rejection of the constitution and the election of 
Humphreys over Eggleston by a majority of about eight thousand votes, 
notwithstanding the fact that it was held under military direction 
and with troops scattered all over the State. 

On the 4th of June, pending the canvass. Gen. Ord was displaced by 
Gen. Irwin McDowell. On the 15th Gen. McDowell issued an order 
removing from office Gov. Humphreys, whose utterances and conduct 
had been always of the most conservative and moderate character, as 
indicated in previous pages, as an impediment to reconstruction, and 
appointing Gen. Adelbert Ames, of Maine, in his place. At the same 
time Attorney-general Hooker was removed, and one Jasper Myers 
appointed instead. "Gov. Humphreys declined to vacate his office, 
regarding the order of Gen. McDowell as a 'usurpation of the civil 
government of Mississippi, unwarranted by and in violation of the Con- 
stitution of the United States.' Congress, however, sustained the or- 
der (notwithstanding President Johnson's disapproval of it), and a 
body of soldiers took possession of the Governor's office, ejecting the 
lawful incumbent at the point of the bayonet. The Governor's man- 
sion was then demanded, and uxDon Gov. Humphreys' refusal to vacate 
it the bayonets of the soldiers were again brought into requisition. 

*" Three Decades," Cox, p. 626. 


After the rightful occupant had been ejected Gen. Ames took posses- 
sion of the mansion and of all the public buildings and archives." * 

This summary ejection of the Governor, it is needless to say, was 
much resented by the people of the State. It was considered as done 
in the interest of Bggleston's candidacy, at his instigation, and it was 
understood to mean that Congress would not only not tolerate any op- 
position to its methods, but also none to its instruments, noble or igno- 
ble. The appointment of Gen. Ames, who was an alien to the State, 
without part or lot in its fortunes or sympathy with its people, was 
regarded as no less worse than the removal of Humphreys. But the 
indignity of his appointment soon shrank into insignificance before the 
wrath kindled by his administration. No temperate terms will de- 
scribe the humor with which the people of the State regarded him. 
His rule was deemed to be stupid and blundering, oppressive, lawless, 
and self-seeking. 

The radicals did not acquiesce in the rejection of their constitution 
and the defeat of their ticket. On the contrary, encouraged by the 
election of Gen. Grant to the Presidency, and speculating on his sup- 
port, they appointed a committee of sixteen to endeavor to induce 
Congress to declare the constitution ratified and the Eggleston ticket 
elected, by throwing out the returns from seven of the coiinties of the 
State, on the ground that the majorities returned therefrom were ob- 
tained by fraud and intimidation. To meet this movement ex-Senator 
A. G. Brown, Judge Simrall, and other gentlemen repaired to Wash- 
ington. They were aided by certain of the moderate Republicans of 
the State, led by Judge Jeffords, of the High Court of Errors and Ap- 
peals. Their efforts succeeded. The President recommended that the 
constitution should be submitted anew, with the privilege of a sepa- 
rate vote on the prescriptive features. This action was induced by as- 
surances that the people would accept the constitution without diffi- 
culty if such a course should be adopted. Accordingly, Congress so 
enacted, providing at the same time that full tickets of State officers 
and Congressmen should be voted for. 

In their resistance to the committee of sixteen, a certain part of the Re- 
publican party of Mississippi had parted, or " bolted," from the radicals; 
and as the spring and summer of 1869 passed it became manifest that 
there was an irreparable breach. The more moderate Republicans ef- 
fected a separate organization, taking the name of the National Union 
Republicans. At their State convention this party declined to make any 
nominations, for the time being, for a State ticket; and the leaders of 
the Democratic, or conservative, party began to discuss the advisability 
of cooperating with it in the approaching elections. 

* " History of Mississippi," Duval, 213. 


In their resistance to the committee of sixteen also, ex-Senator 
Brown and his associates had received in Washington quite material 
aid and comfort from Hon. Louis Dent, a Mississippian by adoption 
and brother-in-law of the President. They remembered his labors in 
their behalf gratefully; and when the political forces began to gather, 
Senator Brown, in an open letter, suggested Judge Dent as a man 
available to defeat the radicals. It was supposed -that his relationship 
to the President would be influential in his favor. The National 
Union Republicans later nominated Judge Dent as their candidate; 
and gave recognition to the Democrats, or conservatives, by offering 
Geu. Eobert Lowry as their candidate for Attorney-general, thus pre- 
senting a fusion ticket. This ticket received the support of the Dem- 
ocrats and conservatives. 

The radicals placed a full ticket in the field, led by James L. Alcorn, 
of Coahoma County, as candidate for Governor. Judge Dent made 
a canvass of the State, holding joint discussions with Gen. Alcorn: 
The former in November paid a visit to Prof. Lamar in Oxford, and 
consulted hi.m about his course; but except to advise, Mr. Lamar took 
no part in the campaign. 

The expectation that the President would give moral support to the 
candidacy of Judge Dent was disappointed. The movement in favor 
of liberal Republicanism, as a shield against radicalism, won no enthu- 
siasm. At the elections in December the constitution was ratified by 
an almost unanimous vote, and its proscriptive clauses were rejected in 
the same emphatic manner; but Alcorn was elected by a vote of 76,- 
186, against Dent's 38,097, while the radicals also elected all of the 
Congressmen and three-fourths of the State Legislature. 

The effect upon the State of the establishment in power by this 
election of the radicals, and the effect of the same misfortune upon 
Prof. Lamar's individual history, have been narrated in the preceding 
chapters. He resigned in June, 1870; and the Iliad of the State's woes 
was continued and made even more tragic. 

Still a further trouble, and one deeply felt, indeed, grew out of the 
Kuklux prosecutions of 1871 and the following years. 

The Kuklux Klan was an oath-bound, secret organization, first heard 
of in Tennessee in 1868. The society soon spread into other Southern 
States. Its avowed object was to break up the Loyal Leagues, which 
were oath-bound, secret organizations of the negroes made by the 
" carpetbaggers " for the purpose of keeping up, at fever heat, the sen- 
timent of loyalty to the Republican party, and which were worked 
as political machines from the start. It was proposed in the* begin- 
ning to effect this object by working on the superstitious fears of the 
negroes. Grotesque disguises were adopted, the most fantastic lit- 
erature was employed, with ghostly apparitions, etc.; but later, as 


was inevitable, resort was had to violence. The victims of violence 
were either negroes or whites who made themselves obnoxious by acts 
of oppression, or acts considered to be injurious to the local welfare. 
There was no concerted system. The disturbances were limited to a few 
localities. Their work and misdeeds were disapproved by the great body 
of the Southern people. They were, however, the natural and certain 
offspring of the oppressions of the reconstruction laws, and of the dis- 
turbed social conditions arising from their enforcement. 

In April, 1871, Congress made these offenses punishable in the Fed- 
eral courts, and authorized the President to suspend the writ of habeas 
corpus when necessary to the preservation of order. Troops were to 
be employed to enforce the law. Apart from the question of the con- 
stitutionality of the law itself, had these measures been wisely and hu- 
manely employed to supress the evil, it would have been well enough ; 
but the tremendous enginery put in operation was managed by the same 
reckless and unscrupulous class of aliens, " carpetbaggers and scalawags " 
already described. They perverted it from its just design. In many of 
the judicial districts, instead of using it for the maintenance of good 
order, it was used to rivet still further the shackles upon the people by 
establishing the radicals in power. It was distorted into an instru- 
ment for the gratifying of private enmities and grudges. It was prosti- 
tuded into a money-making machine by hordes of profligate deputy 
marshals, who spied out the land and worked up prosecutions yielding 
enormous costs. Witnesses found out that the heavy per diem fees and 
the large mileage allowed realized pretty sums, and they were not lacking. 
It was not an unknown thing for witnesses to be summoned to the seat 
of a court from long distances under subpoenas which held them from 
term to term, even during the vacations; and so they were enabled to 
draw per diem compensation during the whole period, while at the same 
time hiring out for wages in the usual manner. The courts were 
thronged with poor people who had been 'dragged from their homes 
under groundless charges, with their women and children along as wit- 
nesses on expenses; and vacant lots in the court towns were frequently 
covered with the tents which sheltered them. What approval the good 
people of the State would have felt for a proper administration of the 
law was lost in a sense of outrage at beholding a widespread and re- 
lentless persecution, conducted to a great extent by men who were well 
known to be of the most desperate and lawless character, under pretense 
of loyalty to the government. It was commonly asserted, and was cer- 
tainly believed, that much of the lawbreaking which was charged to the 
Kuklux was in fact done for political effect by the Loyal Leagues or 
their emissaries. No adequate description can now be given of the di- 
ablerie which was carried on by the rulers. The "carpetbaggers and 
scalawags " were beginning to quarrel amongst themselves over the 

166 LUCIUS Q. a LAM AH: 

spoils; and their mutual criminations and recriminations, their vilifica- 
tions of each other, quite equaled or exceeded in bitterness and magni- 
tude anything which the Democrats had said. 

The Weekly Clarion, of Jackson, the Democratic organ, had this edi- 
torial squib on the 7th of July, which illustrates the character of the 
times and the humor with which the Kuklux prosecxitions were regarded: 

It is thought strange that two-thirds of the jury organized to convict tlie citizens 
arrested by the Federal troops and detained at Oxford are composed of Loyal Leaguers. 
Never since the reign of judicial tyranny in the days of Jeffreys were such outrages 
practiced in the name of justice. The radical party has been fruitful in its invention 
of tortures for the people of the South since they in good faith accepted the terms of 

Mr. Lamar wrote to a friend in Georgia: "We are grievously perse- 
cuted under the Kuklux law." 

In all of this but little has been seen of Col. Lamar; but the times, 
the events, and himself were slowly ripening for his work. 

Meanwhile he was living through deep trouble. Although his per- 
sonal affairs were in reasonably satisfactory condition, the state of the 
country weighed upon him most heavily. , 

North Street in Oxford is a pleasant little street which runs from the 
public square (and the courthouse in the center of it) northerly to the 
limit of the village, and merges into the Holly Springs road. Upon 
either side it is bordered by neat little yards with numerous cozy cot- 
tages, and occasionally a mansion of some pretension. Near the end of 
the street, on its eastern side, was the residence of Col. Lamar ^ — a 
humble but attractive cottage of six rooms, withdrawn from the thor- 
oughfare some two hundred yards, hidden by a tangle of cedars, hois 
d'etre, and pear trees, with a long and narrow lot giving entrance from 
the front. 

At this period upon almost any clement evening, late, if one should 
follow the plank walk until the white picket fence which marked the 
premises of Col. Lamar should be reached, there he would be found; 
clad in a drab study-gown, somewhat frayed and stained with ink; rest- 
ing against the fence, leaning as if wounded, with his strong arms flung 
carelessly over it for support, and his head drooping forward ; his face 
long, massive, and sallow; bareheaded, with his long brown hair stirred 
by the breeze ; his deep, mysterious eyes fixed upon the yellowing west- 
ern sky, or watching dreamily the waving limbs of the avenue of water 
oaks across the way; abstracted, recognizing the salutations of the pass- 
ers-by with a nod half courteous, half surly, and yet obviously uncon- 
scious of all identities; a countenance solemn, somber, and enigmatical. 
He was never one to give loud voice to the perturbations of his soul, 
but it needed no very skillful physiognomist to see that here was a great 
heart greatly suffering. In those darkening twilight hours when nature 


gathers the wandering thoughts of men into the narrow circle of their 
inner selves, what mighty passions wafted him upon their currents! 
What inaudible threnodies of sorrow for those deeply loved and use- 
lessly lost! What mocking, pale-faced visions of blooming hopes and 
vaulting ambitions, now death-stricken forever! AVhat thrills of hot 
hatred, holy in its intense fire if there be such a paradox in the spirit- 
ual world as a hatred at once personal and sacred, for the vile vampires 
who were drawing the lifeblood from his prostrate State! What sur- 
ging waves of contempt for those friends of old whose venal knees had 
bent before the golden calf of power or pelf, and what pangs in tearing 
out their friendships from his heart! What swirling vortices of pas- 
sionate and generous self-reproach for the tragic past, the dreary pres- 
ent, and the frowning future! What agonized searching of the inscru- 
table mysteries of the coming years! What sickening despair as the 
tortured mind groped for clews that might lead out from this Stygian 
darkness into light! There were loving eyes which watched him nar- 
rowly then — eyes which seeing, yet seemed not to see— and loving hands 
diligently wove bonds of silk to draw him away from the perilous verge 
upon which he stood; for more than one anxious heart interpreted those 
volcanic moods, and trembled lest in some weaker hour a dreadful deed, 
born of fury and despair, should spring like a tiger from its lair, and 
ruin all. 

However, no such calamity ever came, although, as told already, once 
very near. The natural humanity of his disposition, the unfailing 
charity which moved him even involuntarily to look for virtues and re- 
deeming traits in those whom he most disliked, his profound respect 
for the law and its requirements of subordination, the humility and 
long-suffering of his Christian blood and training, all conspired to mod- 
erate the turbulent and fierce elements of his strangely complex char- 
acter; and they produced, in time, their legitimate and necessary re- 
sults. Through the stoicism induced by familiarity with painful con- 
ditions, through the unconscious hopefulness of his strong and resil- 
ient nature, the electrical and threatening glooms which overshadowed 
. his life were, to a great extent, gradually dissipated,, and he passed into 
a sunnier mood. But this brighter mood was by no means one of un- 
clouded serenity. There was a large residuum — as indeed there remained 
in a lessening degree throughout his life — of troubled thought, of nerv- 
ous apprehension, of formless dreads about his beloved South. The 
experience of that decade which followed the war left ineffaceable 
scars upon him, and he was never able to cast, wholly off the fear of the 
disposition and power of the stalwart wing of the Eepublican party to 
resume stern measures with the people of that section. 

Through a trial so fiery as was that of Col. Lamar no human soul 
ever passed unmodified. Either it is blackened and debased, or else it is 


purified and ennobled. Mr. Lamar's sorrows mellowed and strengthened 
him. About this period Mr. Henry Craft, of Memphis, a lawyer of emi- 
nent ability, a gentleman of the most amiable and generous character, a 
man of singularly clear perceptions and philosophical thought, who l)ad 
been a friend from those days when they slept together in the trundle- 
bed, wrote to him: 

Do you know that your character has been greatly improved by what you have 
gone through: hoftened, rounded, made sympathetic? I think so, and congratulate 

The enrichment of Col. Lamar's nature by the throes of those tene- 
brious years, interesting as it must be to the student of his life, was by 
no means their only result. He had descended into the shades a sec- 
tioualist; he emerged a nationalist. Like the Apocalyptic, he " saw a 
new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth 
were passed away." The South that was, proud, self-reliant, masterful, 
persuaded of her right and her power if need were to take place as a 
nation amongst nations, had fallen; all her political tenets had parted 
like ropes of sand; the fruitage of her ambitions had turned to ashes 
upon her lips. What remained? A future embarrassed and imperiled, 
but still rich in all glorious possibilities. A future, however, in which 
for her neither a separate existence nor a prospering sectionalism was 
any longer a possibility. A future in which reconciliation and oblivion 
were vital; and in which the wide gaze of the statesman could see every- 
thing for her in concord, in discord nothing. To him it became as clear 
as the sun that the one great want of the South was a great national as- 
piration nationally recognized. The very love he bore to his people, 
illuminating a generous and patriotic heart, a mind stored with tradi- 
tions of statesmanship, gave him prescience and taught him wisdom. 
And so it was that through the darkness he caught gleams of a brighter 
day, and the poet's passionate cry became his prayer: 

Harness the impatient years, 
O Time! and yoke them to thy imperial car; 

For through a mist of tears 

The brighter day appears, 
Whose early blushes tinge the hills afar. 




The Liberal Republican Movement — Lamar's Letter on Greeley and Brown— Lamar 
for Congress in 1872 — Nomination, Canvass, and Election — Letters — Removal of 
Political Disabilities — Illness — Deliberationa, 1873 — Democratic Party Disbanded — 
Supports Alcorn against Ames — Illustrative Letters of November, 1873 — Enters 
Forty-third Congress — Letters to Judge Wharton on Grant — First Speeches: West 
Virginia Contested Election. 

THE American people do not like malice nor cherish, it. Any party 
which erects its political structure upon a foundation of ill-will en- 
gendered by events that are over and done with builds an unstable 
structure. All the genius, the dash, the cunning, and zeal of the Radi- 
cal leaders could not long reconcile the Northern people to their pre- 
scriptive and reckless Southern policy, especially when the truth began 
to transpire about the chaotic and disgraceful administration of the 
Southern State governments under their patronage. The clear and cool 
common sense of the Northern mind could not long be deluded into the 
belief that the South was given over wholly to rebellion and hatred of 
the great republic, or that her people were bandits to be held in order 
by the bayonet alone, or her fair territories conquered provinces to be 
plundered at will. The reconstruction measures of 1867 had hardly 
been put into effective operation before a revulsion in the Northern 
opinions began, which was shortly to sweep the Republican party from 
its imperial place. 

There had been an influential element in the Eepublican party from the first, which, 
although it had supported the party cordially for the sake of the Union, had given its 
support only provisionally, with a potential, if not an actual, independence of judg- 
ment. There was another element, too, of "War Democrats," whose allegiance was 
still looser, still more openly conditional. These elements, as well as a great many 
earnest, conservative men who accounted themselves without qualification stanch 
Republicans, were very soon seriously alienated from the party by its extreme meas- 
ures of coercion in the South in support of the constitutional amendments, its con- 
stant military interference there, in spite of the principle of local self-government, the 
arrogant temper of mastery with which it insisted upon its aggressive policy, and the 
apparent indifference with which it viewed the administrative demoralization which 
so soon became manifest under Gen. Grant. 

So early as 1870 these forces of reaction had produced a "liberal Republican" 
party in Missouri, which, by combining with the Democrats, presently gained complete 
control of the government of the State. By 1872 this " liberal Republican " move- 
ment had greatly spread, assuming even national importance. In May, 1872, a general 
mass meeting of the adherents of the new party gathered in Cincinnati, and, after 
adopting a thoroughly Democratic platform, was led by a singular combination of in- 
fluences to nominate for the Presidency Mr. Horace Greeley, the able, erratic, stridently 
Republican editor of the New Yorl Tribune; and for the Vice Presidency Mr. B. Gratz 
Brown, the Liberal Republican leader of Missouri. The Democratic nominating con- 



vention accepted both the platform and the candidates of this meeting. But no Dem- 
ocrat could vote with real heartiness for the ticket * 

In contemplation of this singular political movement, and only five 
days after Mr. Greeley's nomination by the liberal Eepublicans, Col. 
Lamar wrote as follows to Mr. Eeemelin: 

OxpoBD, Miss., May 6, 1872. 

. . . There is not much enthusiasm for Greeley and Brown. It will require a 
great deal of eloquence on the part of their advocates to get it up. Carl Schurz is the 
only genuinely popular man in the country. The people think him patriotic, disin- 
terested, and intellectual. They pine for a true man ; one true in his principles, lofty 
in his manners, and a real genius. Is Mr. Schurz all this? If he is, and if he has the 
physical strength to. go through the country and make eloquent appeals to the people, 
they will elect his ticket because it is his. The people care nothing about Trumbull or 
Davis or Adams, and very little for Greeley or Brown. But Mr. Schurz has somehow 
touched their hearts. 

The Democratic convention met at Baltimore in July, and accepted 
Greeley and Brown as the candidates of that party also, as told above. 
On the 15th Mr. Lamar wrote again to Mr. Beemelin: 

Your objections to Greeley are incontrovertible. His election, if it should by pos- 
sibility occur, will not, per se, be the triumph of a single great constitutional principle. 
He has ever been the living embodiment and concentration of all that we of the South 
and of the Democracy are accustomed to regard as unsound and pestilent in politics. 
I am curious to see the biography that his friends will put out. If it would only give a 
faithful account of the sects, school?, and parties with which the hero of the story has 
been connected during his forty years of active but feverish intellectual life, it would 
not be devoid of interest and> value, however worthless it might prove as a campaign 
document. But it should be entitled "A History of the Aberrations of Human Rea- 
son, as Illustrated by the Life and Writings of an American Editor."- 

But the South — aye! the very sanior pars of its population — will support him; and 
you, my dear sir, must not judge them harshly for their course. 

Our people are under the supreme necessity of getting into harmonious relations 
with the Federal , Government. They can do nothing, they can say nothing that will 
effect this result with the present administration and the small politicians who seem 
to control every administration. Its grim despotism glares upon us at every point. 
Spies and secret detectives swarm through the country, dogging the footsteps of our 
best citizens, noting and perverting every chance word, following up with arrests, ar- 
bitrary searches, indefinite and unexplained imprisonments, trials before vindictive 
and partisan juries packed for the purpose of insuring convictions, and ending, of 
course, in vei'dicts of " guilty " and sentences of transportation to Northern prisons. 
Tortured to madness, the friends of the victims have sometimes, not often, resorted to 
secret conspiracies and bloody retaliations ; which latter bring down upon our defense- 
less heads still more terrible bolts of Congressional wrath. 

I fear, if this agony is prolonged without hope of relief at some period, the South- 
ern people will feel that death is better than life ; and then despair and Nemesis will 
rule the hour. 

Such being the condition, the thought which presses upon every aching heart and 
head is not how to restore the constitutional faith of our fathers, but how to get rid 
of these creatures, defiled by blood, gorged with spoil, cruel, cowardly, faithless, who 
are now ruling the South for no purposes except those of oppression and plunder. 

* " Division and Reunion,'' Wilson, 281. 


It is believed — or rather we wish to believe — that there is a large majority of the 
Northern people, perhaps of the Republican party itself, which, though determined to 
secure the legitimate results of the war, are disposed to treat the South (as far as con- 
sistent with this purpose) with gentleness and justice, and even with magnanimity. 
Now, strange as it may seem, the South is ready to respond to the former, as she is to 
the latter phase of this sentiment. She was neither embittered nor humiliated by the 
result of the late war. Though vanquished, she was conscious that she had well at- 
tested the sincerity of her convictions by grand battles, numerous victories, and heroic 
sacrifices. With a sentiment of increased respect for the martial spirit and military 
power developed by the North in her vindication at the cannon's mouth of the integ- 
rity of the Union, the Southerners yielded in good faith and without any mental res- 
ervations. They laid down their arms. They submitted to the authority of the con- 
stitution with the North's interpretation of it. They abrogated the right of secession 
and wrote the abnegation in their fundamental laws. They acknowledged the ex- 
tinction of slavery and also the political and civil equality of their late slaves with 
themselves. They vM never disturb the Union again. Since the formal surrender of 
their armies there has not been a single instance within the Southern States of an insurrection 
against the authority of the government, although a part of the tipe the people have been 
without civil- magistrates, and nearly all the time have been writhing under oppres- 
sion, injustice, and violence. 

And yet the administration of President Grant, regarding them as only vile traitors 
to be repressed by the strong hand, has never ceased to treat them with contemptu- 
ous distrust, severity, and vengeance. 

Now that the offer comes from the North (in a strange quarter, true) " to clasp 
hands across the bloody chasm," is it unnatural that our people accept with joy the 
prospect of peace, concord, and forbearance? Accustomed to confide in the moral and 
intellectual superiority of their political leaders, it does not occur to them to doubt the 
sincerity of the ofier and the assurances with which it is accompanied. And even if 
they did doubt him (Greeley), they have confidence in the purpose of the party that 
will go into power with him to relieve them of their intolerable condition. In case of 
his defeat the movement will have brought to their support a body of new and valu- 
able allies which they cannot afford to give up. 

On the other hand, there exists among many high-strung men here a' hopeless 
skepticism of anything sound or valuable in Mr. Greeley, a dislike of his character, 
and a determined adherence to their own political principles. These, however, are 
not active or stimulating motives, and show themselves rather in expressions of indif- 
ference to the result of the contest and a want of confidence in the success of the 

I have given you, as well as I can, the sentiment, or rather the impulse, which 
prompts our people to support Mr, Greeley. I myself have taken no part in any 
movement. The time has passed with me for looking to political parties, Democratic 
or Republican, as a means of improving public affairs. 

I have not merely lost confidence in them. They fatigue my contempt. Believing 
that the South can do nothing which will change the tendency of things, I have had 
no advice to give our own people, except to go to work in restoring their material pros- 
perit}' and establishing their institutions of education. 

As for national politics, it has seemed to me that wisdom, as well as self-respect, 
should restrain those of us who aspired to statesmanship before the Southern over- 
throw from obtruding our counsels and views upon a crisis which we failed to control 
by arms. I remember that you protested against this position during your visit here. 
It made a decided impression upon me, and I have so far deferred to your judgment 
astobeready to speak whenever any utterance of mine can be useful. . . . There is 
a strong movement in my district to send me to Washington. I give it no encourage- 


raent. My aversion to reentering public life increases. At this particular juncture it 
is especially great. I have been accustomed to regard my political principles with 
profound and even awful respect. While iliey are down and under the ban, I feel it to 
be a misfortune and a snare to accept promotion. I would much prefer to bide my 
time and wait for more auspicious days (even if they come not in my life), when the 
right will raise its honors from the deep and make the true and the brave sharers in 
its triumph. Besides, I have a practice growing every day more lucrative, and am 
loath to give it up. If there is a genuine and general desire of our people to have me 
go, I shall hardly know how to decline. In case I yield I must bespeak your counsels, 
and especially your generous indulgence to me as a public man. 

Mrs. Lamar sends her thanks and kind remembrances to you. We see no pros- 
pect of getting to see you for some time, so closely am I confined by my courts. But 
we hope to see you here. For we^all like you. If I do go to Washington, won't you 
let one of your daughters spend one or more seasons there with us? I can commend 
Mrs. Lamar as one of the pleasantest and most popular chaperons I ever knew. Then 
besides, she will be with a family that has never had a " skeleton in the house." But 
I am playing the part of the milkmaid. Do write to me. I have no Northern corre- 

The temper with which the Southern people regarded Mr. Greeley's 
nomination, the sentiments and hopes with which it inspired them, are 
thus clearly set forth in the intimacy of a private correspondence by 
one who knew every throb of the Southern heart. As an interesting 
side light upon the times, and as illustrative of the irritations to which 
the people were constantly exposed, and of their long-suffering under 
libelous and malicious detraction, ponder over the following extract 
from a letter written at that time by Col. Flournoy to the Republican 
State Committee and promptly given circulation in the newspapers, the 
writer being the same man whom his Democratic neighbors had de- 
fended in the year before from the Kuklux with guns and slaughter: 

Alarm the country, for we are stepping over the glowing cinders of the rebellion, 
ready to burst again into a consuming fire. ... A victory for the Democrats, 
through Mr. Greeley, means the repudiation of loyalty by punishing Gen. Grant. It 
means war with some foreign power, that the rebels may aid it upon the condition of 
guaranteeing to them a separate government. 

The movement to send him back to Congress, of which Mr. Lamar 
spoke in the Reemelin letter, grew apace. It was helped on by the 
newspapers. Communications of the most complimentary nature ap- 
peared now and again, especially in the Clarion, the Democratic organ, 
published at the capital. The principal difficulty lay in the fact that un- 
der the provisions of the fourteenth amendment Col. Lamar was dis- 
qualified to hold office. In view of this obstacle there was much hesita- 
tion about his nomination, even on the part of men who otherwise would 
have been ardent supporters. Nevertheless, the wish for him was so 
strong, the confidence in his abilities and patriotism so great, that when 
the nominating convention met at Tupelo on 21st of August, after a 
number of ballots, extending over two days, iu which many prominent 
gentlemen were voted for, he received the unanimous vote of the body. 


To the last lie hesitated about taking the final step. On the 2d of 
August, nineteen days before the convention met, he wrote to Mr. 

In the struggles of my intellect after the truth, " I have trod the winepress alone." 
But in this thing I was wholly at fault. I know the Anglican character, even the 
German and the French, better than I do the Northern. You are o/them enough to 
partake of their feelings and purposes, and are yet ovidde of them enough to see them 
in the perspective, and to view them as phenomena. ... I also wanted your ad- 
vice as to whether I should go back and get my mind saturated again with politics. 
I have a good practice, my family are happy as possible, and I have disciplined myself 
to bear final exclusion from official functions and holdings with a serene and self-sus- 
taining mind. Do I really owe it to the South and Mississippi (excuse the limits ; I 
have not yet learned to expand my sense of political duty) to go into public em- 

After his nomination Col. Lamar arranged for an active canvass of 
his district: the First. His principal opponents were two: Col. E. W. 
Flournoy, in the interest of the radical party, or Grantites, as they were 
called; and E. M. Brown, the editor and proprietor of the Central, a 
paper published at Water Valley, an independent. A joint canvass was 
appointed, which was carried out with some degree of exactness, and in 
which he made many speeches, described by those who heard them as 
most brilliant. A correspondent of the Clarion writes from Tupelo, 
under date October 7: 

Col. Lamar is making a thorough canvass of the district. He is making the most 
powerful speeches that have been heard in this part of the State for many years. In 
fact, the people say the like was never heard before. He has large crowds to hear 
him, and he leaves a perfect blaze of enthusiasm behind him wherever he goes. He 
spoke, to a large crowd at Fulton to-day. He speaks at Shannon to-morrow, at Ohes- 
terville next day, and the next day at Pontotoc. He will beat Flournoy, Brown, 
Adams, and any others that may come out in the interest of Grant or disorganization, 
three to one. 

During this period and in this canvass Col. Lamar was much troubled 
about his political disabilities. He was not only concerned about the 
matter of itself — accepting the nomination with many misgivings as to 
the wisdom of the step — but also the situation was urged by the inde- 
pendent candidate as an argument against his election. There was, 
moreover, an apprehension that if Congress should refuse to remove his 
disabilities, the operation of Section 15, Article 13, " of the Buzzard Eg- 
gleston constitution " would cause the seating of the minority candi- 
date. The Clarion of September 10 had a leadei: controverting the 
soundness of this notion as a legal proposition, and denying the proba- 
bility of such action under the Congressional precedents. Col. Flour- 
noy acted handsomely in the matter. Amongst the old papers is a 
crumpled note in which he says, " Col Lamar, I wish to be understood 


distinctly as saying I will not claim a seat should you resign. K. W. 

The Pilot, the radical organ, published at Jackson, was less magnani- 
mous. It assailed the Colonel j&ercely, ending one of its articles with 
the statement that "he comniitted a great mistake when he decided 
to thrust his case upon Congress." 

A report obtained currency to the effect that he had said in his 
speeches that he would make no direct personal application to Con- 
gress for relief; and this rumor he had to deny and counteract, since 
it threatened to alienate from him the Republican influence which he 
had gained in North Mississippi. 

That Republican backing was one of the most striking facts of this 
portion of his history. Notwithstanding his unswerving Southern 
Democracy and his open and deep resentment of the " carpetbag " dom- 
ination, his hostility was so open and manly, his recognition of any 
kind or honorable or patriotic act, even of those whom he opposed and 
disliked, was so prompt and generous, his bearing toward his antago- 
nists was always so courteous, that most even of those whom he resisted 
publicly, if they knew him personally, liked and admired him in private, 
and were pleased to see him rise. Col. Pierce, the United States Mar- 
shal, supported him against Flournoy and voted for him. His applica- 
tion for the removal of his disabilities received the cordial support of 
Gov. Powers, who, of his own motion, prepared a memorial to Congress 
in that behalf, which was signed by all of the Federal ofScers at Oxford 
and Holly Springs, besides Republican judges and chancellors. The 
three Republican judges of the Supreme Court presented a similar 
document; and his cause was supported by Auditor Musgrove, by James 
Hill, the colored Secretary of State, and by O. C. French, the Chairman 
of the Republican State Committee. A letter from Judge R. A. Hill, 
of date December 1, says: " I have not met with any leading Republi- 
can in the northern part of the State who was not in favor of your re- 
lief specially." 

His reentrance into politics attracted attention in other States, and 
numerous congratulatory notices appeared in prominent Southern 

Prior to the election all of his competitors withdrew from the race, 
"except Old Ossnwattamie Flournoy," as the papers called him. The 
Colonel was successful by a majority of nearly five thousand votes. 

On the 4th of November he wrote to Mr. Reemelin: 

You are somewhat responsible — more than any one person — for the position I am 
in. I was unanimously nominated for Congress, and shall probably be elected to- 
morrow. I have discussed " the condition of the country " with my political oppo- 
nent all over the district. My speeches pleased the people far better than they did 
me. . . . You are aware that I am under disabilities, and that it will require a 


vote of two-thirds to remove them before I can get my seat. The people would have 
me to represent them in spite of the disabilities. They meant no defiance to the gov- 
ernment, but simply wished Congress to know that the man of their choice is pro- 
scribed. I think the Republicans of the State will favor the bill for my relief. . . . 
You may be assured of one thing: I am a patriot— that is, my heart beats with more 
fidelity to the interest and happiness of the American people, and to the principles of 
public and individual freedom, than it does to my own tranquillity. If elected to- 
morrow and sent to Congress, I will be in one sense a Representative according to the 
standard established in the purer days of the republic. Not a dollar will be spent, ex- 
cept for the printing of tickets, in my district. Such a thing as a, fund or a committee to 
raise money for electioneering purposes is unknown within its limits. There will not 
be a vote bribed, either directly or indirectly ; and no personal influence will, so far as 
I know, be brought to bear upon anybody. No money drawn from any source is ap- 
plied to any purpose. What do you think of that? 

To Judge Peyton, of the Supreme Court, he wrote at this time: 

Should I be permitted to take my seat in Congress, my course will be marked by 
moderation and' reserve. If I say or do anything, it will be to give to the North the 
assurance it wants that the South comprehends its own great necessities, and wishes 
to be no longer the agitating and agitated pendulum of American politics. 

In December he repaired to Washington in order to press his appli- 
cation for relief. His petition, along with the memorial prepared by 
Gov. Powers, was introduced in the House by Mr. Dawes, of Massa- 
chusetts, on the 5th, and was at once referred to the Judiciary Com- 
mittee. On the 9th Mr. Bingham, of Ohio, for the committee, reported 
a bill, and advised the House that it was unanimously recommended. 
He called special attention to the fact that the petition was favorably 
indorsed " by most of the United States officials in the State." There- 
upon the bill was passed, under a suspension of the rules, by a vote of 
111 to 13. On the next day its passage was reported to the Senate, and 
on the 11th that body referred it to the Select Committee on the Re- 
moval of Political Disabilities. On the same day Mr. Vickers, of Mary- 
land, for the committee, reported it as unanimously approved, stating 
that a large number of Republicans had certified that the election at 
which Mr. Lamar was chosen was orderly and fair, and that there could 
be no objection to the removal of his disabilities. The bill was there- 
upon passed by unanimous consent. 

The anxieties and excitement caused by this episode came very near 
costing the Colonel his life. The infirmity to which he was subject 
seemed usually, when it visited him at all, to come immediately after the 
relaxation of some great nervous tension. The bill for his relief had 
no sooner passed than he was seized with a vertigo in its severest form. 
He was taken over to Baltimore, where, at the home of Dr. A. T. Bled- 
soe, his old chief at the university, he was most tenderly and carefully 
nursed through his illness. For several days it looked as if the end 
had come, but his strong constitution finally prevailed, and health 


slowly returned. A few days later he was able to return home, although 
on crutches and very weak. 

During all of the year 1873 he was pondering most carefully and anx- 
iously over his future course in Congress. How could he best helj) on- 
ward the cause to which he had consecrated himself: the perfect recon- 
ciliation of the North and the South? That was the overwhelming 
problem. He corresponded on the subject with several of the leading 
conservative statesmen of the North— Hon. M. C Kerr, of Indiana, and 
others — and the import of his letters was this: knowing the Northern 
mind as you know it, what would you do if you were in my place ? He 
received many valuable suggestions; the principal value of which, 
however, consisted in their confirmation of his own conceptions, rather 
than in the marking out of any new lines of thought or policy. 

In June a correspondence with Dr. Barnard, of Columbia College, 
which continued at intervals so long as the Doctor lived, was reopened 
by a letter from the Doctor, in which he said: "I have never ceased to 
think of you with affection, as one of the noblest of men and the most 
valued friend I ever knew." 

Mississippi State politics assumed an interesting phase during this 
year. The " carpetbagger " was still abroad in the land: less imperious, 
perhaps, than in years just passed, and with a dawning perception of 
the fact that his title to the State was but a base fee after all, yet still 
with his Briarean hands everywhere. A division had occurred in the 
Republican party. The leaders of the two factions were Senators 
Alcorn and Ames. " The former, a man of high bearing, wealthy, full 
of courage, proud, and imperious, had a contempt for the pretensions 
of the latter, and asserted, in substance, on the floor of the Senate, that 
Ames was a fraud; that his poverty of intellect was only equaled by 
his arrogant assumption of unauthorized powers; that he was not, and 
never had been, a citizen of Mississippi. Awes made the best reply he 
could, bat was no match in debate for hia opponent. The estrange- 
ment and breach between them culminated in both declaring themselves 
candidates for Governor of the State. A number of white Eepublicans 
advocated the election of Alcorn, while Ames was supported by the ex- 
treme Radicals, who controlled, in a great measure, the negroes." * In 
this condition of affairs the Democratic State Convention, in Septem- 
ber, resolved that "it is inexpedient in the approaching State election 
to nominate a State ticket." The adoption of this course left the race 
to the two .Rej)ublicaus. The Democrats, as a choice between the two, 
supported Alcorn, for the reason that he was an old citizen of the State, 
largely interested in its material development and welfare, and in every 

»" History of Mississippi," Lowry ami McCiudle, p. 386. 


respect preferable to his opponent, whom they regarded as the exponent 
of tyranny and lawless oppression. 

On the 14th of October Col. Lamar wrote to his friend and quondam 
partner, E. D. Clarke, Esq., of Vicksburg: 

As to politics, I tliink this is one of tlie most important elections, perhaps the 
most important, that we have had since reconstruction. I am for Alcorn, and perhaps 
it will surprise you to learn that I am as warmly in his favor at this time as I have 
been in times past opposed to him. In this, if I could talk to you instead of having 
to write, I think I could show that I am consistent in purpose and prindple, though I 
have changed my relative position as to men and measures. This is true patriotism 
and statesmanship in my opinion. Consistency in your end and aim ; variety, change, 
and adaptability in the use of your means. 

Hitherto our gubernatorial contests for, election have had one controlling purpose, 
which was somewhat different from that no w in view. I mean that it was totally differ- 
ent. Heretofore the object has been to have an election that would secure for our peo- 
ple harmonious and redored relations with the Federal administration. It looked to the 
deliverance of the State from military thraldom, and to the reinvestiture of civil 
authority and Federal rights. Our nominations and our platforms were all made with 
a view to these Federal and external relations and exigencies. Hence, both parties in- 
dorsed the thirteenth and fourteenth amendments, and advocated the fifteenth amend- 
ment as proposed. Both sought to get the sympathy and good will of the Federal ad- 
ministration. The Conservatives nominated the brother-in-law of the President as an 
earnest of the good faith in which they proposed to abide and carry out the results of 
the war. The Kadicals nominated Alcorn, a Southerner, but one whose party align- 
ment with the new citizens (Northern Radicals and freed negroes) was presented as a surer 
guarantee of harmony with and support of the administration than the old slavehold- 
ers could give, even with the President's brother-in-law at their head. 

The real object of both sides was to secure the good will of the power at Waphing- 
ton. The constituency to which they appealed, and whose ideas they consulted was, 
not the people in Mississippi, but the President and his cabinet at Washington. The in- 
ternal administration of our affairs was in great measure overlooked in the contest; 
certainly very much subordinated. 

Now, whilst I and you and such as we were willing to support Dent (at the head of 
the original citizens of Mississippi) and abide the amendments for the sake of obtain- 
ing restitution of Federal relations and freedom from military rule, I was opposed 
bitterly and uncompromisingly to reaching such a result through the intervention of 
the negroes and carpetbaggers headed by Alcorn. I believed such a result to be fraught 
vMh more of injury to the State than a continuance of the military rule. Subsequent events 
have confirmed my impression. Whether they have produced that belief in Alcorn's 
mind or not, is a matter of no question. Having accomplished the restoration of the 
State to her position as a member of the Union, with one or two other objects of a 
personal nature, he is satisfied now that the longer continuance of this Radical party 
headed by Ames in the possession of the power of the State government will be a ter- 
rible evil to the State which all good citizens should oppose with all their power. 

I was opposed to the introduction of these people into the government of the State. 
I am ready to cooperate with him in their expulsion. 

He has, from the aggressive and combative qualities of his character, combined 
with the prominence of his position and his senatorial collisions with Ames, assumed 
the leadership of the conservatives in this State. It has been almost forced upon him 
by the stress of events. Whatever may be his personal objects, the public ones, to- 
gether with the bold and somewhat daring manner with which he has thrown him- 


self into our leadership, entitle him, in my opinion, to that position, and to our cordial 
and unstinted support. 

The reasons why he should be elected and Ames defeated now are much stronger 
than those which made us wish him defeated and Dent elected in the former contest; 
but I will not give them in this letter. 

The " old citizens," however, did Dot feel the importance of cooper- 
ation with Gov. Alcorn so deeply as did Mr. Lamar. They gave him 
but a lukewarm support. Ames was elected, and the carpetbag domin- 
ion given another, but a final, lease on life. 

Here is a bit of liteiary genre, which is not without its significance 
and timely color: a letter from F. M. Goar, Esq., a lawyer of Tupelo, 
Miss., one of his law students of old: 

Well, I am not married yet; and no hope. I am thinking some, though, of taking 
part in the Cuban war. If Grant still thinks we down here in the rebel country don't 
love the " old flag," if he will give us a fair showing, we will show him diflferent. Of 
course I would not like to go into the army as a private soldier, unless it was abso- 
lutely necessary that I, together with other gentlemen, should go that way; but I am 
in earnest. If the government would give me a respectable i)osition, I'd go in a min- 
ute, and fight like the devil too. I was thinking to-day that if the United States 
should go to war with Spain (which she ought to do) there is nothing that would 
sooner and more effectually allay the prejudices and bad blood between the North 
and the South than a prompt and liberal response to a call for troops from the South 
of the best and leading young men of the country. I am willing to go. Tell the 
President that if he will appoint me colonel I'll raise him a regiment of " the boys in 

We have a very interesting Circuit Court in session here. Col. Voorhees came to- 
night; the Francis Insurance case set for to-morrow. 

This, also, from Mr. Voorhees to Hon. W. E. Niblack, of Indiana: 

Tupelo, Miss., November 25, 1873. 
. . , If war should be declared against Spain, the South will fight under the old 
flag in a way to command the admiration of the world. Of this there is no doubt. 
This is the expression on all hands, and the genuine tone of the press. There are 
three ex-Confederate officers now sitting by me, each with but one arm, and they 
would all fight now for the government in a just cause; and they consider the present 
a just one in behalf of the national honor. 

Mr. Lamar was promptly at hand in December to take his seat as a 
member, from Mississippi, of the Forty-third Congress. He found 
Congress to be a very different body from what it was before the war, 
and his place in it even more altered. Coming from a Southern State 
lately in armed hostility to the government, and never since the day of 
secession represented by a man of his political creed or antecedents, 
it will be difficult to conceive adequately of the embarrassment, the deli- 
cacy, and the gravity of his position and his duties. He found that 
sectional animosity was strong and bitter; that the purposes and aspi- 
rations of the Southern people were grossly misrepresented from many 
powerful quarters, and were generally most sadly misunderstood; that, 


based upon such misrepresentations and misunderstandings, measures 
had been, and constantly were, introduced, which to him and his people 
appeared most hostile and deadly to their happiness, their prosperity, 
and their liberty. 

He was appointed to the Committee on Elections. Soon after his ar- 
rival he made a short speech on a contested election case from West 
Virginia, which was regarded as "quite a hit," and received a good deal 
of complimentary notice from the press ; but of which he wrote to hi^ 

The little speech I made attracted far more attention than it deserves. Its only 
merit consisted in presenting the truth of the case disengaged from the irrelevant 
points with which it had been confused. 

A few days later he wrote to Hon. T. J. Wharton, of Jackson, Miss. : 
Washington, D. 0., 1418 F. Street, December 25, 1873. 
Hon. Thomas J. Whaeton. 

My Dear Friend : . . . There will be very little opportunity for me to say any- 
thing that will strike my own people impressively. I am on a hard-working commit- 
tee, where I can be of some use, though not in an imposing way. It is well under- 
stood here that I have already contributed effective aid to our friends in defeating the 
project of putting in the Eepublicans from West Virginia. I think, too, I have won 
the confidence and respect of the members of my committee. The Chairman of it 
told me that he would rather agree with me in action upon the case than all the 
others. Probably this was flattery, but it shows a desire to secure my cooperation 
rather than to provoke antagonisms. But a truce to such egotisms. You want to 
know something about Federal politics, don't you? 

Well, I have seen Grant once. I went with Stephens. We were carried into a re- 
ception room, and were told that the President would be in in a few moments. Very 
soon another person came in, whom I look to be one of the upper servants. He said: 
"Good morning, Mr. Stephens." Mr. Stephens, to my utter astonishment, replied: 
" Good morning, Mr. President. Allow me to introduce Col. Lamar, member of Con- 
gress from Mississippi." I had seen his pictures, and had heard A. G. Brown describe 
him, but I was taken by surprise. He is, at first sight, the most ordinary man I ever 

saw in prominent position. He is about the complexion and size of . After 

scanning him closely you see before you a very strong, self-contained man, full ol pur- 
pose, resolute even to obstinacy, and of infinite sang-froid. He talked freely in a voice 
not very deep, but with a slight rasp in it, such as you sometimes observe in men who 
drink a great deal. He is by no means deficient in conversational power. He talked 
about Cuba, and what he said would have made a very good ten-minute speech in 
the House. He said that, whatever might be the real facts as to the " Virginius," she 
was prima facie an American vessel, and must be delivered up. "But," added he, "I 
have very much doubted whether the Spanish Governraent has the power to give effect 
to the concession to our demand, however anxious it may be to do so. The power of 
Castelar over Cuba is very slight, and hangs by a very uncertain tenure. I shall not 
be surprised if the Spanish party in Cuba refuses to comply with the order to deliver 
up the ship." " Then," said Mr. Stephens, " whenever this refusal is made known, I 
hope that you will recommend the repeal of the neutrality laws." "No," said he; "I 
shall not do that. I shall urge the recognition of Cuban independence." He then went 
on to talk about Cuba in a way to show that he had studied the question closely. 

I judge him to be a man of rather a narrow range of ideas, but of clear perception 
within the range of his mental vision, close observation, and accustomed to forming 


very decided opinions about men and things. He does not look at you when he con- 
verses. There is nothing furtive in his manner. He simply looks straight by you. 
Once he turned and looked at me very steadily and sharply all over, and then turned 
his eyes from me and began to talk very freely. I take him to be the most ambitious 
man that we have ever had. His schemes are startling. With the machinery of the 
Civil Rights bill transferring to the Federal Courts jurisdiction, civil and criminal, over 
the protection of persons, property, and liberty, in every State, against injuries com- 
mitted on account of race; with the control of telegraph lines and railroads, which 
he is seeking to get; and with all the emissaries, spies, employees, and tools that his 
patronage gives him, there will be no limit to the despotic power which he is ever 
ready to use relentlessly and fearlessly for his own purpo.«es: which purposes are the 
most arbitrary that have ever yet been cherished by a Federal Executive. 

I have an idea, as yet vague, of making a speech on the relation of the Southern 
people (the original citizens) to the reconstruction policy of the government. It is a 
very delicate subject, and it is very difficult to determine what not to say. There is, 
however, one phase of it not yet fully understood, and that is the readiness of our 
Mississippi people to conform to the policy of the government, as evidenced in our 
oflfering to place our State government in the hands of a man not only devoted to the 
political and personal fortunes of the President, but also a member of his family. 

There were some letters written by Barksdale, Harris, and yourself at that time, 
which I would like to read over. There is one sentence in Barksdale's letter, which, 
if I remember its import, will be as valuable as if every word were a diamond. It in- 
dicated that we of the South must settle the question of negro suffrage in a spirit of 
true regard to the rights, demands, and interests of the negro race ; that such an ad- 
justment, fair and honorable, we would have to make, even if it were not forced upon us 
by Federal intervention. If I could get those letters, I would refer to them, and I would 
quote the sentence in the Barksdale letter. I remember it more distinctly than the 
others because it accorded with my own preconceived convictions. Can't you get 
them and send them to me immediately? * 

On the 22d of the following January (1874) the West Virginia case 
was again up for consideration, and Mr. Lamar made another speech 
upon the subject, much more elaborate than that of December, but not 
of any special interest now. 

* Unfortunately the files of the Clarion had been destroyed by fire, and the letters could not be 
found.— B. M. 


The Eulogy on Sumner — Preparation — Letter to Eeemelin — Mr. Sumner's Flag Res- 
olution — Memorial Services in the Senate — In the House — Lamar's Oration — Its 
Delivery — Its Reception — Letter to Wife— Comments of the Press ; Extracts — An- 
ecdote of Thurman— Criticisms — Mr. Blaine on the Eulogy — Effects. 

THE turning point of Mr. Lamar's political career was the Sumner 
eulogy. Indeed, that great speech is believed by his admirers and 
friends to have been the deathblow to sectional animosity, and by con- 
sequence the turning point of our post helium national history. Through 
it, and through his subsequent labors in pursuance of the spirit which 
it evidenced and of the policy it inaugurated, many claim for him the 
enviable position of the most practically patriotic, the strongest, and the 
most useful man of our government since the Civil War. 

The last three chapters of this work have been failures unless they 
have conveyed to the reader a clear conception of the fact that the 
course of political history after the war had caused between the masses 
of the North and those of the South a mutual distrust deeper and a 
hostility apparently greater than existed when the Confederacy fell; 
that the rivalry of arms which, although baptized in blood, was yet 
generous, had given place on the one side to suspicions, and on the 
other to sullen or fierce resentments, which augured but ill for the hap- 
piness, the tranquillity, and the glory of the republic. It was given to 
Mr. Lamar with a noble self-forgetfulness to dare the perilous task of 
throwing himself, like another Curtius, into the widening chasm and 
bidding it to close. With sympathetic hand he touched the freezing 
hearts of North and South, unlocking their latent stores of kindly and 
generous feeling, and kindling anew in them the fast-failing fires of 

What he did was not the rash or impulsive act of an egotist seeking 
to seize a favorable and dramatic opportunity by which to achieve per- 
sonal reputation and selfish power. Had it been so, he would have 
failed without doubt. Nor was his act the offspring of any cold (al- 
though impersonal Vcalculation of sectional policy; had it been so, then 
also had he doubtless failed, for in either case the talismanic power 
of a great love and patriotism had been wanting. His course was the 
achievement of a noble heart and a great mind capable of those broad 
and catholic sympathies which penetrate the veils of differing views, in- 
stinct with a wide patriotism, chastened by mighty and long-continued 
sorrow, and stirred to their profoundest depths by the realization of a 
tremendous national crisis. 



Nor was this speech altogether the result of quick inspiration drawn 
from sudden opportunity. On the contrary, much of it was the flower 
of long-continued soul culture; and an occasion for the presentation of 
that part of it had been yearned after for years. In the Reemelin let- 
ter of July 15, 1872, quoted in part in the preceding chapter, he said: 

As for national politics, it has seemed to me that wisdom, as well as self-respect, 
should restrain those of us who aspired to statesmanship before the Southern over- 
throw, from obtruding our counsels and views upon a crisis which we failed to con- 
trol by arms. I remember that you protested against this position during your visit 
here. It made a decided impression on me, and I have so far deferred to your judg- 
ment as to be ready to speak whenever any utterance of mine can be useful. 

But will the North listen to a Southern man with patience and respect? Is it pos- 
sible for a secessionist from the South to convince a Northern audience that there is 
a common ground on which the two sections can stand and live in harmony? You 
know what would be the demands of such an audience when seeing a secessionist 
before them. Could such a man, with his mind pervaded by a deep sense of the im- 
portance, sanctity, and authority of his principles, which are under the ban of that 
audience, speak manfully and candidly, however kindly, and receive patient and con- 
siderate attention? 

Remember that there are as many things to be wisely not said as to be said. For 
instance, the denunciations against Grant (many of them unjust, by the way), which 
Northern speakers launch from the hustings, your people would not brook from a • 
Southerner. You know exactly what utterances he ought to make, and where he 
ought to be silent. But you are not Southern, although we would be proud to have 
you as our representative, /only know enough to observe that so far the utterances 
of Southern men, whether they be Jeff Davis or Toombs or Stephens on the one 
hand, or Lee on the other, not only fail to conciliate the popular heart of the North, 
but generally inflame their irritated feelings. And yet such conciliation has be- 
come indispensable to the security and tranquillity of Southern society. In my 
opinion the two sections are estranged simply because each is ignorant of the inner 
mind of the other, and it is the policy of the party in power to keep up and exagger- 
ate the mutual misunderstanding. When, for instance, Morton proclaims in the Sen- 
ate, "These men are cast in the mold of rebellion and cannot bend," the South, tak- 
ing it as the sentiment of that party and of the people it represents, are embittered, and 
grow reckless and defiant. The North, seeing only the effect and accepting it as con- 
firmation of the truth of Morton's allegations, allows Congress to go on in its mad ca- 
reer of ruthless legislation. 

But is not this an appalling spectacle? On the one hand a brave, impulsive, 
but too sensitive people full of potent life and patriotic Are, ready — aye, eager — to 
abide with knightly honor the award of the bloody arbitrament to which they ap- 
pealed; and yet, as if dumb, unable to speak intelligibly their thought and pur- 
pose. On the other hand a great and powerful section (I came near saying na- 
tion), flushed with victory and success, but full of generous and magnanimous feeling 
toward their vanquished brethren; and they too, as if under some malign spell, 
speaking only words of bitterness, hate, and threatenings. 

He indeed would be a patriot and benefactor who could awake them from their 
profound egotism, and say to them with effectual command: "My countrymen, know 
one another." For then nature herself with her mighty voice would exclaim: "Love 
one another." 

Here we have the first foreshadowing of the Sumner speech (so far 
as is known), nearly two years before it was made. 



Possessed by the conviction expressed in that letter, and animated by 
Buch longing for full forgiveness and forgetfulness between alienated 
brethren, with what an infinitude of soothing must Mr. Sumner's famous 
resolution of 1872 have fallen upon him! 

Whereas [it ran] the national unity and good will among fellow-citizens can be as- 
sured only through oblivion of past differences, and it is contrary to the usages of civ- 
ilized nations to perpetuate the memory of civil war; 

Therefore be it enacted, etc., that the names of battles with fellow-citizens shall 
not be contained in the army register or placed on the regimental colors of the United 

Mr. Sumner died on the 11th of March, 1874 Being a member of 
the United States Senate, it was customary that appropriate recognition 
of the death should be made by both houses of Congress. The Massa- 
chusetts delegation in the House invited Mr. Lamar to second the usu- 
al resolutions in that body and to deliver a memorial address. Here 
was an opportunity to make his appeal for "peace between the sec- 
tions," and he seized upon it. He seized upon it all the more gladly be- 
cause his heart was full of kindly feeling toward Mr. Sumner, very 
much softened toward the great scholar and statesman who, at the other 
extreme of the Union, had felt the same generous impulses with himself, 
and had undertaken the same great labor of pacification. It was one 
of those golden and rare occasions when the most exalted feeling runs 
hand in hand with the subtlest worldly wisdom. 

On the 27th of April the Senate suspended business in order that the 
friends and associates of Mr. Sumner might pay fitting tribute to his 
public and private virtues. Mr. Boutwell gave a comprehensive and 
discriminating analysis of his character and career, as also did Mr. 
Sherman; Mr. Thurman spoke with great exaltation of his personal 
character; Mr. Morrill, of Maine, and Mr. Anthony were very tender 
and noble in their eulogies, both of them possessing great felicity upon 
such occasions. 

On the next day (the 28th) the action of the Senate was notified to 
the House. Hon. E. E. Hoar, of Massachusetts, then offered the fol- 
lowing resolution: 

Resolved, That as an additional mark of respect to the memory of Charles Sumner, 
long a Senator from Massachusetts, and in sympathy with the action of the Senate, 
business be now suspended in this House to allow fitting tributes to be paid to his 
public and private virtues. 

In offering the resolution Mr. Hoar made an address of a lofty and 
appreciative strain. It then came the turn of Mr. Lamar to second the 

It was an occasion thoroughly well calculated to excite public expec- 
tancy, incredulity, criticism. To the lot of Mr. Sumner almost beyond 
any other man it had fallen to antagonize all that the South stood for. 


It was generally understood that her people regarded him as one of her 
most uncompromising enemies. At the very time of his demise he was 
pressing most earnestly the Civil Rights Bill, which placed the negro 
on the exact level with the white man in respect to all civil privileges; 
and almost his last words, addressed to Mr. Hoar, were: " Take care of 
my Civil Rights Bill." That a Mississippi Re^jresentative, a Southron 
of the Southrons, should pronounce a eulogy upon him was naturally 
regarded as a curious spectacle of questionable taste. Perhaps no one 
expected aught but a purely perfunctory performance, an unwilling 
tribute to a dead foe exacted by the good breeding of civilization; but 
the generosity of the Southern nature, its chivalric passion which con- 
cedes so much to honesty of purpose and to high-hearted devotion to 
sincere conviction, had not been taken into the account; and Mr. Lamar, 
who so thoroughly embodied the loftiest Southern sentiment, amazed 
the doubters. He said: 

Mr. Speaker : In rising to second the resolutions just offered, I desire to add a few 
remarks which have occurred to me as appropriate to the occasion. I believe that 
they express a sentiment which pervades the hearts of all the people whose repre- 
sentatives are here assembled. Strange as, in looking back upon the past, the asser- 
tion may seem, impossible as it would have been ten years ago to make it, it is not 
the less true that to-day Mississippi regrets the death of Charles Sumner, and sincerely 
unites in paying honors to his memory. Not because of the splendor of his intellect, 
though in him was extinguished one of the brightest of the lights which have illus- 
trated the councils of the government for nearly a quarter of a century ; not because 
of the high culture, the elegant scholarship, and the varied learning which revealed 
themselves so clearly in all his public efforts as to justify the application to liim of 
Johnson's felicitous expression, " He touched nothing which he did not adorn ; " not 
this, though these are qualities by no means, it is to be feared, so common in public 
places as to make their disappearance, in even a single instance, a matter of indiffer- 
ence ; but because of those peculiar and strongly marked moral traits of his character 
which gave the coloring to the whole tenor of his singularly dramatic public career; 
traits which made him for a long period to a large portion of his countrymen the ob- 
ject of as deep and passionate a hostility as to another he was one of enthusiastic 
admiration, and which are not the less the cause that now unites all these parties, 
ever so widely differing, in a common sorrow to-day over his lifeless remains. 

It is of these high moral qualities which I wish to speak; for these have been the 
traits which in after years, as I have considered the successive acts and utterances of 
this remarkable man, fastened most strongly my attention, and impressed themselves 
most forcibly upon my imagination, my sensibilities, my heart. I leave to others to 
speak of his intellectual superiority, of those rare gifts with which nature had so lav- 
ishly endowed him, and of the power to use them which he had acquired by educa- 
tion. I say nothing of his vast and varied stores of historical knowledge, or of the 
wide extent of his reading in the elegant literature of apcient and modern times, or 
of his wonderful power of retaining what he had read, or of his readiness in drawing 
upon these fertile resources to illustrate his own arguments. I say nothing of his elo- 
quence as an orator, of his skill as a logician, or of his powers of fascination in the 
unrestrained freedom of the social circle, which last it was my misfortune not to have 
experienced. These, indeed, were the qualities which gave him eminence not only in 
our country, but throughout the world ; and which have made the name of Charles 


Sumner an integral part of our nation's glory. They were the qualities which gave 
to those moral traits of which I have spoken the power to impress themselves upon 
the history of the age and of civilization itself; and without which those traits, how- 
ever intensely developed, would have exerted no influence beyond the personal circle 
immediately surrounding their possessor. More eloquent tongues than mine will do 
them justice. Let me speak of the charai teristics which brought the illustrious Sen- 
ator who has just passed away into direct and bitter antagonism for years with my 
own State and her sister States of the South. 

Charles Sumner was born with an instinctive love of freedom, and was educated from 
his earliest infancy to the belief that freedom is the natural and indefeasible right of 
every intelligent being having the outward form of man. In him, in fact, this creed 
seems to have been something more than a doctrine imbibed from teachers, or a re- 
sult of education. To him it was a grand intuitive truth, inscribed in blazing letters 
upon the tablet of his inner consciousness, to deny which would have been for him 
to deny that he himself existed. And along with this all-controlling love of freedom 
he possessed a moral sensibility keenly intense and vivid, a conscientiousness which 
would never permit him to swerve by the breadth of a hair from what he pictured to 
himself as the path of duty. Thus were combined in him the characteristics which 
have in all ages givfin to religion her martyrs, and to patriotism her self-sacrificing 

To a man thoroughly permeated and imbued with such a creed, and animated and 
constantly actuated by such a spirit of devotion, to behold a human being or a race 
of human beings restrained of their natural right to liberty, for no crime by him or 
them committed, was to feel all the belligerent instincts of his nature roused to combat. 
The fact was to him a wrong which no logic could justify. It mattered not how 
humble in the scale of rational existence the subject of this restraint might be, how 
dark his skin, or how dense his ignorance. Behind all that lay for him the great 
principle that liberty is the birthright of all humanity, and that every individual of 
every race who has a soul to save is entitled to the freedom which may enable him 
to work out his salvation. It mattered not that the slave might be contented with his 
lot; that his actual condition might be immeasurably more desirable than that from 
which it had transplanted him ; that it gave him physical comfort, mental and moral 
elevation, and religious culture not possessed by his race in any other condition ; that 
his bonds had not been placed upon his hands by the living generation ; that the mixed 
social system of which he formed an element had been regarded by the fathers of the 
republic, and by the ablest statesmen who had risen up after them, as too complicated 
to be broken up without danger to society itself, or even to civilization ; or, finally, that 
the actual state of things had been recognized and explicitly sanctioned by the very or- 
ganic law of the republic. Weighty as these considerations might be, formidable as 
were the difficulties in the way of the practical enforcement of his great principle, he 
held none the less that it must sooner or later be enforced, though institutions and con- 
stitutions should have to give way alike before it. But here let me do this great man 
the justice which, amid the excitement of the struggle between the sections— now 
past— I may have been disposed to deny him. In this fiery zeal, and this earnest 
warfare against the wrong, as he viewed it, there entered no enduring personal ani- 
mosity toward the men whose lot it was to be born to the system which he de- 

It has been the kindness of the sympathy which in these later years he has dis- 
played toward the impoverished and suffering people of the Southern States that has 
unveiled to me the generous and tender heart which beat beneath the bosom of the 
zealot, and has forced me to yield him the tribute of my respect— I might even say of 
my admiration. Nor in the manifestation of this has there been anything which a 
proud and sensitive people, smarting under a sense of recent discomfiture and present 


suffering, might not frankly accept, or which would give them just cause to suspect 
its sincerity. For though he raised his voice, as soon as he believed the momentous 
issues of this great military conflict were decided, in behalf of amnesty to the van- 
quished; and though he stood forward, ready to welcome back as brothers, and to re- 
establish in their rights as citizens, those whose valor had nearly riven asunder the 
Union which he loved ; yet he always insisted that the most ample protection and 
the largest safeguards should be thrown around the liberties of the newly enfran- 
chised African race. Though he knew very well that of his conquered fellow-citizens 
of the South by far the larger portion, even those who most heartily acquiesced in 
and desired the abolition of slavery, seriously questioned the expediency of investing, 
in a single day, and without any preliminary tutelage, so vast a body of inexperi- 
enced and uninstructed men with the full rights of freemen and voters, he would tol- 
erate no halfway measures upon a point to him so vital. 

Indeed, immediately after the war, while other minds were occupying themselves 
with different theories of reconstruction, he did not hesitate to impress most emphat- 
ically upon the administration, not only in public, but in the confidence of private in- 
tercourse, his uncompromising resolution to oppose to the last any and every scheme 
which should fail to provide the purest guarantees for the personal freedom and po- 
litical rights of the race which lie had undertaken to protect. Whether his measures 
to secure this result showed him to be a practical statesman or a theoretical enthusi- 
ast, is a question on which any decision we may pronounce to-day must await the in- 
evitable revision of posterity. Tlie spirit of magnanimity, therefore, which breathes 
in his utterances and manifests itself in all his acts affecting the South during the last 
two years of his life, was as evidently honest as it was grateful to the feelings of those 
toward whom it was displayed. 

It was certainly a gracious act toward the South — though unhappily it jarred upon 
the sensibilities of the people at the other extreme of the Union, and estranged from 
him the great body of his political friends — to propose to erase from the banners of 
the national army the mementos of the bloody internecine struggle, which might be 
regarded as assailing the pride or wounding the sensibilities of the Southern people. 
That proposal will never be forgotten by that people so long as the name of Charles 
Sumner lives in the memory of man. But, while it touched the heart of the South, 
and elicited her profound gratitude, her people would not have asked of the North 
such an act of self-renunciation. 

Conscious that they themselves were animated by devotion to constitutional lib- 
erty, and that the brightest pages of history are replete with evidences of the depth 
and sincerity of that devotion, they cannot but cherish the recollections of sacrifices 
endured, the battles fought, and the victories won in defense of their hapless cause. 
And respecting, as all true and brave men must respect, the martial spirit with which 
the men of the North vindicated the integrity of the Union, and their devotion to the 
principles of human freedom, they do not ask, they do not wish the North to strike 
the mementos of her heroism and victory from either records or monuments or bat- 
tle flags. They would rather that both sections should gather up the glories won by 
each section: not envious, but proud of each other, and regard them a common her- 
itage of American valor. 

Let us hope that future generations, when they remember the deeds of heroism 
and devotion done on both sides, will speak not of Northern prowess and Southern 
courage, but of the heroism, fortitude, and courage of Americans in a war of ideas; a 
war in which each section signalized its consecration to the principles, as each under- 
stood them, of American liberty and of the constitution received froni their fathers. 

It was my misfortune, perhaps my fault, personally never to have known this em- 
inent philanthropist and statesman. The impulse was often strong upon me to go to 
him and offer him my hand, and my heart with it, and to express to him my thanks 


for his kind and considerate course toward the people with whom I am identified. 
If I did not yield to that impulse, it was because the thought occurred that 
other days were coming in which such a demonstration might be more opportune, 
and less liable to misconstruction. Suddenly, and without premonition, a day has 
come at last to which, for such a purpose, there is no to-morrow. My regret is there- 
fore intensified by the thought that I failed to speak to him out of the fullness of my 
heart while there was yet time. 

How often is it that death thus brings unavailingly back to our remembrance op- 
portunities unimproved: in which generous overtures, prompted by the heart, 
remain unofFered; frank avowals which rose to the lips remain unspoken; and the 
injustice and wrong of bitter resentments remain unrepaired ! Charles Sumner, in 
life, believed that all occasion for strife and distrust between the North and South had 
passed away, and that there no longer remained any cause for continued estrangement 
between these two sections of our common country. Are there not many of us who 
believe the same thing? Is not that the common sentiment — or if it is not, ought it 
not to be — of the great mass of our people. North and South? Bound to each other 
by a common constitution, destined to live together under a common government, 
forming unitedly but a single member of the great family of nations, shall we not now 
at last endeavor to grow toward each other once more in heart, as we are already indis- 
solubly linked to each other in fortunes? Shall we not, over the honored remains of 
this great champion of human liberty, this feeling sympathizer with human sorrow, 
this earnest pleader for the exercise of human tenderiiess and charity, lay aside the 
concealments which serve only to perpetuate misunderstandings and distrust, and 
frankly confess that on both sides we most earnestly desire to be one ; one not merely 
in community of language and literature and traditions and country; but more, and 
better than all that, one also in feeling and in heart? Am I mistaken in this? 

Do the concealments of which I speak still cover animosities which neither time 
nor reflection nor the march of events have yet sufficed to subdue? I cannot be- 
lieve it. Since I have been here I have watched with anxious scrutiny your senti- 
ments as expressed not merely in public debate, but in the abandon of personal con- 
fidence. I know well the sentiments of these, my Southern brothers, whose hearts 
are so infolded that the feeling of each is the feeling of all ; and I see on both sides 
only the seeming of a constraint, which each apparently hesitates to dismiss. The 
South — prostrate, exhausted, drained of her lifeblood, as well as of her material re- 
sources, yet still honorable and true — accepts the bitter award of the bloody arbitra- 
ment without reservation, resolutely determined to abide the result with chivalrous 
fidelity; yet, as if struck dumb by the magnitude of her reverses, slie suflers on in 
silence. The North, exultant in her triumph, and elated by success, still cherishes, as 
we are assured, a heart full of magnanimous emotions toward her disarmed and discnm^ 
flted antagonist; and yet, as if mastered by some mysterious spell, silencing her bet- 
ter impulses, her words and acts are the words and acts of suspicion and distrust. 

Would that the spirit of the illustrious dead whom we lament to-day could speak 
from the grave to both parties to this deplorable discord in tones which should reach 
each and every. heart throughout this broad territory: "My countrymen! know one 
another, and you will love one another." 

When Mr. Lamar arose to deliver this address he confronted an au- 
dience of the most distinguished and intellectual men in the nation. 
The galleries were crowded with visitors, amongst whom were numbered 
members of brilliant diplomatic corps from all over the enlightened 
world. The House itself was thronged: on the one side friends, full of 
misgivings; on the other, opponents, cold, curious, critical. The 


speaker was a " fire eater " of the long ago. The odor of " rebellion " 
hung about him. A secession Democrat, he yet stood there by a suf- 
frage iu which both negro and Republican votes participated. It was 
an epic iu itself — his presence there, and on such an occasion. He was 
iu the prime of life, full of vigor and physical power; but the illness 
of the year before had aged him somewhat iu appearance. His dark, 
abundant hair was combed back from his broad, high forehead; his 
great gray eyes, with pupils so distended as to produce the impression 
of coal-blackness, burned with suppressed passion; his mouth was hid- 
den by a long, brown, luxuriant mustache and goatee. His voice was 
full and clear — although it was evident that ill health had robbed it of 
some of its richer tones— well modulated, and pitched to suit the gravity 
of the occasion. He spoke simply, with but little use of the arts of the 

As he proceeded with the address, it was evident that something un- 
usual was going on. The House became hushed and reverent. The 
faces of the members and of the vast auditory were turned, rapt and 
attentive, upon the speaker, as he stood, in an attitude of easy grace, in 
the first aisle beyond the center, on the left of the chamljer. The still- 
ness of the House and galleries became oppressive. The Speaker, Mr. 
Blaine, sat motionless, his face turned away, with tears stealing down 
his cheeks. On both sides of the House members wept. The scarred 
veterans of a hundred fields, and the callous actors in a hundred de- 
bates. Democrats and Republicans alike, melted into tears. Said one 
spectator afterwards: " Those who listened sometimes forgot to respect 
Sumner in respecting Lamar." When he closed all seemed to hold 
their breath, as if to prolong a spell; and then a spontaneous burst of 
applause broke out from all the floor and all the galleries, coming up 
heartily and warmly, especially from the Republican side. Such a 
thing as Democrats and Republicans uniting in a hearty and sympa- 
thetic applause of the same speech had never been heard of before; 
and the Sijeaker, gavel in hand, did not attempt to check it. "My 
God!" exclaimed Lyman Tremaine, of New York, rushing up to Mr. 
Kelly, of Pennsylvania, with tears in his eyes; "what a speech! and 
how it will ring through the country! " 

And so it was that Mr. Lamar, before distinguished, now leaped into 
fame. On the next day he wrote to his wife: 

I never in all my life opened my lips with a purpose more single to the interests 
of our Southern people than when I made this speech. I wanted to seize an oppor- 
tunity, when universal attention could be arrested, and directed to what I was saying, 
to speak to the North in behalf of my own people. I succeeded fully, but not more 
fully than I anticipated. I will send ynu letters which will show you what a tre- 
mendous revolution of feeling it has wrought in Boston and New York toward the 
South. I did not aim at rhetorical or personal success, so earnest and engrossing was 
my other object; but the rhetorical triumph was as prodigious as it was unexpected. 


. . . One of the most gratifying features of the occasion was that my son was in 
the gallery, and witnessed the greatest triumph his father ever won. 

Tremaine was right. The speech did " ring through the country." 
It was a marked tribute to it that, among all those delivered in the two 
houses by members representing the various sections of the Union, this 
alone was sent to all parts of the country by telegraph. The newspa- 
pers were full of it. "How suddenly," said the Memphis Appeal, "L. 
Q. C Lamar has become famous — famous above all American orators 
and statesmen! His funeral eulogium upon Charles Sumner has been 
printed in every newspaper in America, and has now gone into the ' pat- 
ent outside,' and passes thence into the school readers." 

Let us see, by a few examples of the numberless comments, what 
were the things which the papers were saying about it: 

The Boston Daily Advertiser (Republican): " Of the eulogies of Senator Sumner pro- 
nounced in Congress, Monday, none will give more gratification to the people of New 
England than that of the Hon. Lucius Q. C. Lamar, of Mississippi. . . . The man- 
ner of the act comported with its magnanimous spirit. There is no sentence in Mr. 
Lamar's speech that breathes of any motive inconsistent with chivalrous honor. The 
pathos of it is its sincerity. It contains no lament for the irrecoverable past. It is in- 
stinct with the patriot's pride and faith. In the remarkable passage concerning Sen- 
ator Sumner's battle flag resolution he exhibits a charity and nobleness which we 
shall not justly appreciate unless we can imagine ourselves in the position of the van- 
quished. It is no disparagement to any one to say that Mr. Lamar's speech is the 
most significant and hopeful utterance that has been heard from the South since the 
war. Were the North assured that such a temper prevailed throughout that section, 
our reconciliation would lack no element of completeness." . ... 

The Boston Transcript: "The tone and spirit, not the letter, of the remarks of the 
ex-Confederate officer of the rebel army, now a member of Congress, indicate the 
mistakes made by party politicians in some of the features of the adopted plans for 
reconstruction, in which they lost sight of principles, in their eagerness to secure im- 
mediate pacification and power, at the expense of permanent and prosperous quiet. 
Too late to change the past it may be ; but it is not too late for public men to return, 
in their policy for the future, to the recognition of the sound philosophical views of 
government that will stand the test of time." 

The Boston Herald : " This extreme ' fire eater,' whose admittance to Congress had 
been deemed dangerous, grasps the outstretched hand of the extreme abolitionist 
who was not spoiled by victory, and teaches us all a lesson in reconstruction. John 
A. Andrew advocated the reconstruction of the Southern States by and through the 
ruling class in that section: the men of intelligence and character, the men who had 
been faithful to their opinions with their lives and fortunes. But counsels less wise 
prevailed, and the Southern State governments were thrown into the hands of ' scal- 
awags ' and ' carpetbaggers.' Even Sumner was not wise in time." ... 

The Boston Olobe: "As an evidence of the real restoration of the Union in the 
South, despite the disturbances in some quarters, this speech must certainly attract 
much attention in Europe, and wherever our institutions are studied. . . . We 
do not know of any parallel in history to a recognition like this. The appreciation, 
by a leader of the vanquished, so soon after our great civil strife, not only of the iden- 
tity of interest between the two sections, but of the motives of the most determined 
assailant of slavery, is something to excite gratification and wonder; the more so as 
it is accompanied by a reiteration of a belief in the justice of the Southern cause." 


The Springfield (Mass.) Republican : " When such a Southerner of the Southern- 
ers as Mr. Lamar, of Mississippi, stands up in the House of Representatives to 
pronounce such a generous and tender eulogy upon Charles Sumner as this 
which the wires bring us this morning, it must begin to dawn upon even the most 
inveterate rebel haters in Congress, and the press, that tlie war is indeed over, and 
that universal amnesty is in order." 

The New York Commercial Advertiser: " Yesterday the fliU glory of a generous South- 
ern manhood shone forth upon Congress and the nation, when Mr. Lamar . . . ex- 
claimed: ' My countrymen! know one another, and you will love one another.' . . . 
Mr. Lamar's speech was grave and tender ; but it rose to impassioned earnestness at 
the close, and swept the House in a tumult of applause." 

The Philadelphia Press (Forney's): " What a manly speech Mr. Lamar, of Mississ- 
ippi pronounced on Charles Sumner last Monday. . . . How careful every Northern 
man should be to cherish this (Sumner's) great example of magnanimity to our defeated 
brethren ! It is well to recollect in the hour of victory, and always as we live in the 
midst'of the enjoyment of the blessings rescued and secured to us by the overthrow 
of the rebellion, that perhaps if we had been reared near the institution of slavery 
we might ourselves have been forced into the revolt against the government. . . . 
What man of the North went so far as Charles Sumner in support of the Union cause? 
. . . But, that war closed, his first great work was to obliterate all traces of triumph 
over our kindred, and, while demanding the complete and exceptionless enfranchise- 
ment of the slave, he insisted upon the complete and exceptionless forgiveness of the 
Confederate. This should be the platform of the whole American people." 

The Petersburg (Va.) Index and Appeal : " Speaking of the eulogy upon Senator 
Sumner pronounced last Monday week in the House of Representatives by Col. La- 
mar, of Mississippi, the Savannah Advertiser- Republican says: 'The effort speaks for 
itself, and we do not desire by comment to say more than the press of the country 
has said: that it was the speech of the occasion. But as Mr. Lamar is a Georgian 
born and bred, it affords us a pleasure to indorse every word, every line, and every 
sentiment of his effort.' We adopt the language of our Georgian contemporary, and 
add our testimony to the eloquence, power and pathos of Col. Lamar's great speech." 

The Richmond Enquirer : " It was a bold, brave, eloquent appeal to the old fraternal 
feelings between the Northern and Southern people. . . . And after that speech 
the Northern man who says that the South is opposed to reconciliation must admit 
that he denies and defies the facts that confront him."' 

The LouismZle Courier-Journal : " We point to Mr. Lamar's speech with pride and 
confidence. It speaks for itself. It is a manly, earnest, and eloquent plea for recon- 
ciliation. ' My countrymen ! ' says he, 'know each other, and you will love each other.' 
It is strong without being clumsy, and possesses polish without weakness. It is a 
vigorous truth. ... It was an appeal to two sections of a hemisphere to bury their 
mutual animosities in the grave opened for the reception of a courageous and often 
misguided, but a generous and honest heart. It was an invocation to the country to 
bury the evil that has been done by all whom Sumner had led, with his bones, and 
the expression of a patriotic and fervent hope that the good might live after him. It 
represented the feelings of the entire South, and nothing but a blind partisan bigotry 
will pretend to deny the fact." 

The Cincinnati Commercial: " The speech of the day, however, the one which evi- 
dently made the deepest impression and elicited the highest praises, was the one de- 
livered by Mr. Lamar. . . . There were many who, in the bitterness and heat of 
partisan strife, had grown apparently callous and insensible to good professions from 
those whom they have fought and distrusted as traitors, who were moved to tears by 
the simple, manly appeal to their better nature. The speech will live, and will have 
a marked and beneficent effect in the future." 


The Memphis Appeal : " The South is proud of L. Q. C. Lamar. His name has shot 
across the sky like a blazing meteor. He is now the cynosure of all eyes. From one end 
of the Union to the other the press teems with praises of the brilliant Mississippian. 
All concur in the opinion that no finer oration has ever been pronounced over the 
grave of the dead than that which Col. Lamar delivered in commemorating the great 
career of Charles Sumner. It was a touching, graceful tribute, and has done more 
toward breaking down the barriers that have so long divided the Union than any 
event since the war." 

The New Orleans Times spoke of " the honor that Lamar gained to himself by his 
noble speech. ... Its mission is to reveal to the people of all sections their com- 
mon humanity and their common patriotism, and to inspire them with a common as- 
piration for the welfare of the whole country." 

The Jackson Clarion: " The address abounds in noble and generous sentiments, and 
will do much toward bridging the bloody chasm which has separated the two sec- 
tions, and which self-seekers in both sections have endeavored to keep open after 
the causes that produced it had ceased to exist. ... By a proper word at the gold- 
en moment he has dispelled the mists of prejudice and hatred founded on error, 
which have blinded the eyes of those who have used ua despitefully ; and that, too, 
while ' reiterating his belief in the justice of the Southern cause.' "... 

TJie foregoing extracts from papers published at the extremes of the 
Union are taken almost at random. They might be greatly multiplied, 
but enough have been given to indicate the reception v^ith which the 
Sumner speech met and the effect of it. 

Enormous numbers of letters of congratulation and of sympathy 
poured in upon him from all parts of the nation. 

In later years he used to tell with much relish an anecdote to this 
effect: A day or two after the speech he went to a circus with Senator 
A. G. Thurman. One of the features of the show was a woman on 
the flying trapeze. In the midst of her performance she uttered a 
wild scream and, having apparently lost her hold, flew across the ring 
as if falling from her great height; but in the midst of her flight she 
caught another trapeze, and skillfully and gracefully resumed her per- 
formance. It was a trick to startle the spectators. When it ended so 
well his friend, turning to Mr. Lamar, said: "Lamar, that reminds me 
of you." "How so?" said the Colonel. "About your speech, you 
know. You caught all right; but if you had missed, you'd have broken 
your neck." 

Mr. Lamar's speech, however, did not bring him roses only. Thorns 
came also, and they gave him many a bad quarter-hour. Letters of re- 
monstrance and criticism from friends dearly loved and greatly honored 
were there; and some of the Southern papers, misunderstanding his 
speech, assailed him fiercely on the idea that he had surrendered South- 
ern principle and honor. Prominent amongst these in his own State 
were the Columbus Democrat, the Canton Mail, and the Meridian Mercury. 
Relative to those assaults and other things he wrote as follows to his 
wife on the 5th of May: 

My eulogy has given me a reputation that I have never had before. The whole world 


is my audience. No one here thinks I lowered the Southern flag, but the Soutliern 
pres3 is down on me. That is unfortunate, for what tliey say will be copied by the 
Radical press of the North as evidence that the South still cherishes schemes of seces- 
sion and slavery. I do not blame Southern editors. Many of them are men cf lim- 
ited views and strong passions. Our people have suffered so much, have been be- 
trayed so often by those in whom they had the strongest reason to confide, that it is 
but natural that they should be suspicious of any word or act of overture to the North 
by a Southern man. I know for once that I have done her good, that I have won 
friends to her side who were bitter enemies, that I have awakened sympathies where 
before existed animosities. If she condemns me, while I shall not be indifferent to 
her disapprobation, I shall not be cast down or mortified or resentful. I shall be 
cheered and consoled by the thought that I have done a wise and beneficial thing for 
her. It is time for a public man to try to serve the South, and not to subserve her ir- 
ritated feelings, natural and just as those feelings are. I shall serve no other interests 
than hers, and will calmly and silently retire to private life if her people do not ap- 
prove me. 

Ah, but they did approve of him ; no doubt about that. Their approval 
was sealed with a signet that cannot be challenged. There was no re- 
tirement to private life. From that time forth the people denied to him 
nothing. Every honor within their gift they bestowed upon him at his 
asking, and bestowed at the first opportunity. They delighted to ele- 
vate him upon their shields. 

Criticism and objection are usually, perhaps always, more obtrusive 
and noisy than approval ; and in the first reading of the popular mind 
Mr. Lamar overestimated the force of the protest from the South. In 
fact, that protest amounted to so little in practical result that it hardly 
needed to be noticed in this work, except with a view to a full and faith- 
ful presentation of facts, and in order to show in what a noble spirit he 
met it and by what lofty motives his life was held. 

Ten years later Mr. Blaine, in his work, " Twenty Years of Congress," 
said this of the Sumner eulogy: 

A singular interest was added to the formal eulogies of Mr. Sumner by the speech 
of Mr. Lamar, of Mississippi, who had just returned to the House of Representatives 
which he left thirteen years before to join his State in secession. It was a mark of 
positive genius in a Southern representative to pronounce a fervid and discrimina- 
ting eulogy upon Mr. Sumner, and skillfully to interweave with it a defense of that 
which Mr. Sumner, like John Wesley, believed to be the sum of all villainies. Only 
a man of Mr. Lamar's peculiar mental type could have accomplished the task. He 
pleased the Radical antislavery sentiment of New England. He did not displease the 
Radical proslavery sentiment of the South. 

It is of course impossible to trace either fully or certainly the effects 
of this speech. Very rarely indeed does it happen that one so com- 
pletely achieves a wish of a nature so far-reaching, long-brooded over, 
and altogether unselfish as did Mr. Lamar in this utterance to the North- 
ern people in behalf of his section; and the consciousness of success in 
that patriotic aspiration was like a benediction to him. It went far to 
console him for the troubled past, and made him a happier man, or 
rather one less unhappy. To the Southern people, speaking generally, 


the speech was not only a surprise, but also after the first startled self- 
examination a revelation of themselves; and through it they rose to the 
consciousness of their power and their duty to brush away the resent- 
ments which hung over their hearts like mephitic vapors of the night, 
and to admit once more the brighter and sweeter influences of a new 
life. To the Northern people, whether it should have been so or not, 
it was also a disclosure of the South in its nobler and stronger feelings; a 
disclosure which went far to confirm the desire then already widely felt 
amongst them that the hostility of the administration to the Southera 
section should be stayed, and that its people' should be left free, within 
constitutional limits, to work out their own destinies in the Union. 
The great Democratic " tidal wave " of 1874 came six months later, and 
that confirmation contributed to that result, and materially. 

It is impossible to present here the evidences which sustain the fore- 
going piroposition. They are too many and voluminous. Many of them 
will be found all through this volume. In truth, as years passed by 
and the growing prominence of Mr. Lamar caused him to become more 
and more a man of mark, and to be more and more discussed, and as 
the bearings and origin of political events became clearer because of 
the perspective of distance, it came to be very commonly conceded by 
both parties that the Sumnfer eulogy was greatly influential in the recon- 
ciliation of the sections. 

Under the inspiration of that effort Hon. S. J. Eandall, then Chair- 
man of the Congressional Democratic Executive Committee, wrote to 
the editor of the Jackson fMiss. ) Clarion: 

Dear Sir: Lamar has just finished his Sumner speech. It was a wonderful success. 
He said exactly what ought to have been said. The House was electrified. All par- 
ties are pleaded, because it kindled a sentiment that rises higher than party passion. 
It mil do us a great deal of good. 

Fourteen years later (on the 7th of January, 1888), Senator Stewart, 
of Nevada, in his open letter to one of his constituents giving the rea- 
sons why he, a Republican, would vote against his party and support 
Mr. Lamar for Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, as 
related hereafter, said this of the eulogy: 

When a member of the Senate in the year 1874 my attention, with that of many 
other Senators, was attracted to Mr. Lamar by his eulogy on Charles Sumner, which 
thrilled both Houses of Congress and the country with admiration for its eloquence, its 
exalted sentiments, and its appeals for the restoration of that lofty and enlarged pa- 
triotism which embraces both sections of the country. Those who were most enthu- 
siastic in the praise of that speech were then the most ardent of Eepublicans, and I 
distinctly call to mind a tribute paid by Hon. George F. Hoar, then member of the 
House of Eepresentatives and now Senator from Massachusetts. I have it before me 
in the North American Review for January and February, 1878, Volume 126. It is as 
follows : 

" The eloquent words of Mr. Lamar, of Mississippi, so touched the hearts of the peo- 


pie of the North that they may feirly be said to have been of themselves an impor- 
tant influence in mitigating the estrangements of a generation." 

After Mr. Lamar's death the Illustrated American, in commenting 
upon his life and services, said: 

The House listened entranced. The country read with awe and admiration a trib- 
ute so earnest, so graceful, so truthful, so imbued with fraternal appreciation, so tinctured 
with lofty sentiment that, insensibly, the soul of the man lost seemed to be found in 
the man that perpetuated his memory. The heart of the land went out to Lamar. 
The " bloody shirt" became a byword and scorn. The warriors of peace that had 
traded upon the agonies of war were discredited, and discredited forever. Lamar had 
closed the gaping chasm of civil war. 

Never in the history of civil convulsions was the single voice of honor so potent; 
never was the magnanimous impulse of manhood so generously accepted, so univer- 
sally understood. From the hour of the Sumner eulogy until the hour of his death La- 
mar meant to the South the voice that had stilled faction, restored constitutional right; 
to the North the intellect that had penetrated the darkness of Northern doubt. This 
surely was a great r61e to play: to bring distrusting, self-destroying millions together; to 
make the mulctuary covenant of the Appomattox apple tree the broad charter of a reu- 
nited people. Lamar's single speech did that, for, though the powers of partisan dark- 
ness held sway a little longer, the heart of the North had been too deeply touched; 
and in 1874 the miscreant regime of carpetbag anarchy in the South began to topple, 
and fell with a crash in 1876. 

It is, therefore, as the inspired pacificator that Lamar will stand out unique, almost 
incomprehensible, to other times than those that knew the incredible baseness of the 
policies that followed the war. 


Speech on Misrule in the Southern States— Eadical Eule in Louisiana— McEnery and 
Kellogg — Judge Durell's Extraordinary Order — Kellogg Installed — Mr. Lamar's 
Speech — Its Reception — Incorrect Newspaper Personals— Further Events in Louisi- 
ana— Coniiict of September 14, 1874 — Kellogg again Installed by United States 
Troops — Mr. Lamar's Canvass of 1874 — The " Landslide " — Critical Era in the South 
— Course of Events in Louisiana — De Trobriand Purges the Legislature — Gen. P. H. 
Sheridan's "Banditti" Dispatch — Excitement in the North — Debates in Congress — 
Correspondence on Southern Policy — Lamar's Remarks on Civil Eights Bill — The 
Force Bill — Filibustering — Letter to New York Herald on Affairs in the South — Its 
Reception — Canvass and Speech in New Hampshire— Press Comments — Inter- 
viewed by Henry Grady — Correspondence. 

BY the Sumner eulogy Mr. Lamar secured a hearing from the North- 
ern members and their constituents. It is believed that from that 
time forth he never spoke to inattentive ears. It was not long before 
he availed himself of the advantage gained to raise his voice in behalf 
of his section and of a sounder and safer national administration. His 
speech on the Louisiana contested election, or " Misrule in the South- 
ern States," was delivered on the 8th of June. 

Perhaps in no State did the evils attendant upon the reconstruction 
assume a form so aggravated and malignant as in Louisiana. The great 
staples of that commonwealth (cotton, sugar, and rice) poured immense 
annual wealth into her places of business and her treasury. The city 
of New Orleans was a great commercial emporium, drawing its client- 
age from three or four States. There was the carcass, and thither did 
the vultures flock. All forms of- perfidy, all phases of corruption, all 
aspects of crime, reveled in that high carnival. The body politic was 
rotten in every branch and through its pettiest ramifications. 

So firm was the hold the radicals had upon the State that they could 
afford to quarrel amongst themselves, and they did. The State ofiicials 
constituted one faction, and the Federal officeholders the other: this led 
by Packard, the United States Marshal, and Casey, the Collector of the 
Port (brother-in-law of President Grant); that by the Governor, War- 
mouth. President Grant gave his personal favor and substantial aid to 
the Packard-Casey party. Between those factions, in the years 1871 and 
1872, there were violent struggles: over the control of the Republican 
State Convention, in which the Customhouse wing succeeded by a lib- 
eral use of United States troops and Deputy United States Marshals; 
over the presidency of the State Senate, the Warmouth party winning 
in this instance; over the speakership of the House, in which the Fed- 
eral wing dared to arrest the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, four 



Senators, and eighteen members of the House by writs from the United 
States Court, charging conspiracy to resist the execution of the laws of 
the United States, thus securing an advantage, which, however, was soon 
lost. The Warmouth party prevailed for the time being. 

At the general elections in November, 1872, the Warmouth faction 
and the Democrats put out a fusion ticket, with John McEnery as can- 
didate for Governor; while the Customhouse faction supported Wil- 
liam P. Kellogg for the office. Pinohback, the colored Lieutenant Gov- 
ernor, deserted Warmouth and went over to the other party. 

The result of that election was afterwards canvassed three times. 
First, by a body known as the " DeFeriet Eeturning Board," a board 
whose duty it was under the law to canvass the returns and declare the 
result. Again by the " Forman Board," appointed by the Senate of 
what came to be known as the McEnery Legislature. Again, with the 
original returns before them, by a committee of the Senate of the 
United States, not one member of which was a Democrat. Those three 
canvasses all ended in substantially the same result: the Fusion State 
officers had been elected by majorities ranging from nine to fifteen thou- 
sand, with conservative or Fusion majorities of thirty-nine members in 
the House and of eleven members in the Senate. 

Another board, called the "Lynch Board," dealt with this matter in 
the interest of the Radical party. Senator Carpenter, of Wisconsin, in 
his exhaustive speech on these transactions, demonstrated that this 
board was not only without legal power to count these returns, but also 
had not even a color of authority. The Senate Committee itself said in 
its report that 

There is nothing in all the comedy of blunders and frauds under consideration 
more indefensible than the pretended canvass of this board. 

The Legislature was to meet on the 9th of December. Before the 
meeting, and before the promulgation of the returns of the election, 
Kellogg filed in the Circuit Court of the United States a bill, the object 
of which, as it appeared in the bill, was to perpetuate testimony: simply 
to preserve what he claimed to be the returns of the election and the 
evidences by which they were accompanied. It was more than ques- 
tionable whether the court had any jurisdiction. To many legal minds 
it seemed perfectly clear that it had not. But if it had, that jurisdic- 
tion was only preservative: only to preserve the returns and the accom- 
panying evidences. It could go no further. The bill did not even 
pray for anything further. 

On the 3d of December a telegram came to the United States Marshal 
from the Attorney General of the United States to the effect that the 
Marshal was to enforce the decrees and mandates of the United States 
courts, no matter by whom resisted ; and that Gen. Emory would fur- 
nish him with all troops necessary for that purpose. On the night of 


the 5tli, Judge Durell, not sitting in court, without any motion by 
either party to thecase, at midnight, closeted with the Marshal and the 
plaintiff's attorneys, himself drew up or dictated an order directing the 
Marshal to take possession of the Statehouse and to permit no one to en- 
ter it except certain persons described in the order. No process was is- 
sued; but yet before two o'clock in the morning the Statehouse was seized 
by the troops of the United States under that order, and batteries 
were planted around it for the purpose of holding it for the Kellogg 
Legislature. The Fusion Legislature met in the City Hall. It peti- 
tioned the President to withdraw the military force which had taken 
possession of the State capitol for the purpose of awing and restraining 
the action of the Governor, but the President refused to grant their pe- 
tition. In effect, he assumed the responsibility for the overthrow of the 
State government by his subordinates. 

The Packard (Kellogg) Legislature met in the Capitol on the 9th of 
December, 1872, although the 1st of January was the day fixed in the 
constitution. Pinchback, the President of the (old) Senate, claimed to 
hold over in that capacity. The House, Lowell, the postmaster, pre- 
siding as Speaker, immediately preceded to impeach Gov. Warmoiith for 
"high crimes and misdemeanors," and thereupon Pinchback assumed 
the office of Governor.* 

Later the House of Representatives of the United States resolved to 
impeach Judge Durell for his conduct in this matter, and he resigned 
under charges. The Senatorial Committee reported that 

It is the opinion of your committee that but for the unjustifiable interference of 
Judge Durell, whose orders were executed by United States troops, the canvass 
made by the DeFeriet Board and promulgated by the Governor, declaring McEnery to 
have been elected Governor, etc., and also declaring who had been elected to the 
Legislature, would have been acquiesced in by the people, and that government would 
have entered quietly upon the exercise of the sovereign power of the State. But the 
proceedings of Judge Durell and the support given to him by the United States troops 
resulted in establishing the authority de facto of Kellogg and his associates in State 
offices, and of the persons declared by the Lynch Board to be elected to the Legisla- 
ture. We have already seen that the proceedings of that board cannot be sustained 
without disregarding all the principles of law applicable to the subject and ignoring 
the distinction between good faith and fraud. 

Your committee are therefore led to the conclusion that, if the election held in 
November, 1872, be not absolutely void for frauds committed therein, McEnery and 
his associates in State oflBces, and the persons certified as members of the Legislature 
by the DeFeriet Board, ought to be recognized as the legal government of the State. 
Considering all the facts established before your committee, there seems no escape 
■ from the alternative that the McEnery government must be recognized by Congress, 
or Congress must provide for a new election. 

However, Congress did neither. It did not recognize the McEnery 
government, nor did it order a new election. The Kellogg government 
remained in power. 

. * " Three Decades of Federal Legislation," Cox, p. 662. 


This introductory sketch, although wholly insufficient as a picture of 
that marvelous history, will serve to render the speech of Mr. Lamar 
intelligible. That speech was made upon the occasion of a contested 
seat in Congress, the claimants being Piuchback, the ex-Lieutenant Gov- 
ernor, and G. A. Sheridan, and in opposition to the majority report of 
the Committee on Elections, which pronounced the evidence insufficient 
to entitle either contestant to the seat, and in advocacy of Sheridan's 
right. Its opening portion involves only matters of detail altogether 
special and local, and is omitted. The residue of the speech will be 
found to contain a masterly and fascinating presentation of the subject 
of which it treats: the misrule in the Southern States.* 

In this great argument Mr. Lamar took occasion to settle at once and 
forever, so far as any distinct annunciation could do so, the question 
about which agitators in .Congress had had so much to say : the attitude 
of the Southern people toward secession and slavery. He said: 

Sir, the Southern people believe that conquest has shifted the Union from the ba- 
sis of compact and consent to that of force. They fully recognize the fact that every 
claim to the right of secession from this Union is extinguished and eliminated from 
the American system, and no longer constitutes a part of the apparatus of the Ameri- 
can Government. They believe that the institution of slavery, with all its incidents 
and affinities, is dead, extinguished, sunk into a sea that gives not up its dead. They 
cherish no aspirations nor schemes for its resuscitation. With their opinions on the 
rightfulness of slavery unchanged by the events of the war, yet as an enlightened 
people accepting what is inevitable, they would not, if they could, again identify their 
destiny as a people with an institution tliat stands antagonized so utterly by all the 
sentiments and living forces of modern civilization. In a word they regard the new 
amendments to the Constitution, which secure to the black race freedom, citizenship, 
and suffrage, to be not less sacred and inviolable than the original charter as it came 
from the hands of the fathers. They owe allegiance to the latter; they have pledged 
their parole of honor to keep the former, and it is the parole of honor of a soldier 

As to Mr. Lamar's strictures in this speech upon the connection of 
the President with these lawless measures, Senator Beck, of Kentucky, 
is authority for the statement that, "though listened to by all the Re- 
publican leaders, they were neither answered nor contradicted and 
could not be, because the facts were indisputable." f 

The reception with which this speech met will appear from the fol- 
lowing quotations from the newspapers of the day, again taken almost 
at random: 

The Boston Advertiser (Republican) : " Mr. Lamar, of Mississippi, made in the House, 
Monday, another of those stirring and eloquent speeches which are sure to strike a 
sympathetic chord in the hearts of all generous people. . . . The generous tem- 
per, the nobility of sentiment, and the moving eloquence of the present representa- 
tive from Mississippi are doing more than anything else could to dispel the un- 

*Appenclix, No. 9. f Beck to Editor Kentucky Yeoman, October 8, 1874 


pleasant feeling, . . . and to promote good offices between sections of the Union 
no longer divided." 

The New York World (Democratic): "Mr. Lamar, of Mississippi, again distinguished 
himself to-day as an able and eloquent representative of the South, and a real states- 
man, by delivering a prepared speech on the present political condition of the South. 
It was the first full and fair statement of the attitude of the white people of the South 
toward the general government, and also the State governments of the South, that 
has been made upon the floor of Congress. . . . The speech was a sequel to Mr. 
Lamar's oration on Sumner, and was listened to by every member of the House 

The New York Tribune ; " Mr. Lamar, of Mississippi, made another great speech in 
the House to-day, which will, not less for its noble tone and sentiments than for its 
eloquence and sincerity, no doubt receive as much praise and attention as his former 
speech on the character of Charles Sumner." 

The New York Herald : " Lamar's speech attracted general attention for its earnest- 
ness and its allusions to the Civil War and its results. He was peculiarly happy in 
accepting the political situation made for the South by the amendments to the consti- 
tution. His exordium and peroration were alike characterized by pithy and pertinent 

The Louisville Courier- Journal: "This is is the first time since the war that the case 
of the South has been adequately and fully presented by one of her own sons, and it 
was done to-day in a style to which even Northern Republicans could take no excep- 
tions : . . . what many deem the ablest and most statesmanlike speech of the ses- 
sion. Nearly the whole House gathered around him at the close." ' 

The Wilmington (N. C.) Journal (Conservative): "Among those who have been in- 
strumental in breaking down the barrier between Northern and Southern representa- 
tives, no one occupies a more prominent position than Col. Lamar, of Mississippi. 
. . , The kindly words that were withheld from the living were given to the dead. 
That they were grandly given no one who knows Lamar needs to be told ; and with 
what result, if the testimony of men from all sections of the country and of every shade 
of political opinion is to be relied on, those kindly words then spoken have borne, and 
will continue to bear, fruit for which a grateful South will in due time make fitting re- 
turn to her gallant and gifted son." 

The Anderson (S. C.) Intelligencer : " Hon. L. Q. C. Lamar, of Mississippi, has won 
greater reputation in a short time than any Southern Congressman since the war. 
. . . Last week he made a speech upon the Louisiana troubles which attracted 
much attention for its earnestness and its frank allusions to the results of the Civil 
War. The members crowded around him during the delivery of his pithy and perti- 
nent defense of the South, and listened with absorbing interest to his graphic illustra- 
tions of the gross caricatures upon republican government now existing in this sec- 
tion of the Union." 

The Jackson (Miss.) Clarion: " It was a most triumphant vindication of a wronged 
people, executed in a style so knightly as to disarm opposition and compel attention 
and respect. All bear testimony to the invaluable service he has rendered." 

The Syracuse Journal : " If Congressman Lamar, of Mississippi, be not more reticent 
in his utterances, he will be looked after as a candidate for the second place oil the 
Presidential ticket two years hence." 

On tlie 16th of June Mr. Lamar wrote his sister, Mrs. Eoss, of 

No man has worked harder than I have this session. My work has been unob- 
trusive, but faithful. My speech was listened to attentively and respectfully by the 
Northern members. It never would have been heard or read by the North had I not 


made the Sumner speech. I heard Mr. . *rhere was but one Northern man who 

listened to it: Judge Thurman, of Ohio. The Republican side was nearly empty, and 
those present were writing. 

Upon the adjournment of Congress the Hernando (Miss.) Press 
had this to say: 

The first session of the Forty-third Congress has closed. To Mississippians it is 
chiefly remarkable as being the first Congress in which they have been represented 
since 1861. Certainly we have reason to be proud of this, our first representative in 
thirteen years. . . . With singular skill and good judgment he made the contested 
election case from Louisiana the occasion of a somewhat elaborate inquiry into, and 
exposure of, the ills that aflFect the Southern States. It is by far the ablest, most philo- 
sophical, and statesmanlike presentation of our unhappy section that has been given 
to the world since the surrender. There has been no such speech made in Congress 
by a Southern man since the days when Davis and Benjamin and Hunter spoke their 
farewell speeches to the old Senate. Of Mr. Lamar's speech in eulogy of Charles Sum- 
ner, it is not too much to say that it is the most notable speech delivered in the Amer- 
ican Congress since Lee's surrender. It attracted a wider, more instantaneous, and 
universal applause than any single speech within our memory. 

Mr. Lamar possesses, in an eminent degree, two qualities not often combined, and 
which, when they meet, must always produce a flrst-clasa orator; he has great beauty 
and power of expression, and a mind deeply philosophical and analytical. Not so 
philosophical as Mr. Calhoun, nor so philosophical [sic] as Mr. Webster, he perhaps 
unites more of the gifts of both than any man now in public life. Certainly the 
South has had no such promise of a great statesman in very many years. May she 
have the good sense and the good fortune long to cherish and honor him ! 

Said the Winona (Miss.) Advance: 

There is no name in the United States in so many minds, in connection with the 
Vice Presidency in 1876, as Lamar's. 

Like all persons who achieve distinction, Mr. Lamar now came to be 
much annoyed by that class of scribblers for the newspapers who make 
free with the names of public men, often producing narratives without 
foundation in fact, or grossly perverted, and articles in which are attrib- 
uted feelings and motives of wholly inadequate, or even low, character, 
supplied altogether by the imaginations of the writers. Such a com- 
munication, which appeared about this time in a Georgia paper, was 
promptly exposed by a cousin, Mr. John C. Butler, of Macon, and in a 
letter of acknowledgment Mr. Lamar said: 

His statement about my money matters, which I saw in the New York Herald, is a 
pure lie— not even an element of truth in it. I do not think that I ever consented to 
go upon a bond in my life. I know that I have repeatedly refused to do so. I formed, 
in early life, two purposes to which I have inflexibly adhered, under some very strong 
pressure from warm personal friends. They were, first, never to be a second in a duel ; 
and, second, never to go security for another man's debts. The year that I lived in 
Macon I was more straitened in my circumstances than ever before or since, for I got 
a very small practice; but I left Macon without owing any man anything. 

As to never speaking on any occasion without committing my speech to memory : 
I am now forty-eight years old, and have not done such a thing but once or twice (on 
literary occasions) since I was twenty-one. I cannot ivrUe a speech. The pen is an ex- 


tiiiguisher upon my mind and a torture to my nerves. I am the most habitual extem- 
poraneous speaker that I liave ever known. Whenever I get the opportunity I pre- 
pare my argument with great labor of thought, for my mind is rather a slow one in 
constructing its plan or theory of an argument. But my friends all tell me that my 
offhand speeches are by far more vivid than my prepared efforts. 

My recent speeches have not been prompted by self-seeking motives. It was neces- 
sary that some Southern man should say and do what I said and did. I knew that if 
I did it I would run the risk of losing the confidence of the Southern people, and that 
if that confidence were once lost it could never be fully recovered. Keenly as I would 
feel such a loss (and no man would feel it more keenly), yet I loved my people more 
than I did their approval. I saw a chance to convert their enemies into friends, and 
to change bitter animosities into sympathy and regard. If I had let the opportunity 
pass without doing what I have, I would never have got over the feeling of self- 
leproach. If the people of the South could only have seen -my heart when I made my 
Sumner speech, they would have seen that love for them, and anxiety for their fate, 
throbbed in every sentence that my lips uttered. 

In the month of September further notable events occurred in Lou- 
isiana. They were the sequence of the history given in this chapter 
and in Mr. Lamar's Louisiana speech. 

It will be remembered that in the contest in the early winter of 1873, 
growing out of the election of 1872, President Grant had virtually 
refused to receive the committee of one hundred appointed by the tax- 
payers' meeting; that the Kellogg government was established in power 
by the Federal administration and was upheld by military forces. On 
the 14th of January, 1873, two State governments were inaugurated 
amid great excitement, and two Legislatures organized. The United 
States Senate appointed an investigating committee, which reported as al- 
ready described in this chapter. President Grant then continued to up- 
hold the Kellogg government. This organization passed stringent laws 
for the collection of taxes, more than two millions of which were al- 
leged to be in arrears, in which provision was made for calling out the 
militia to aid the taxgatherers. There were riots and bloodshed and 
arrests of members of the McEnery Legislature, who were marched out 
of their hall between files of soldiers and taken to the guardhouse. 

The result of this contest was that Mr. McEneiy, because of the in- 
tervention of the Federal authorities in support of the Kellogg faction, 
issued an address to the people, and abandoned, for the time being, all 
effort to assert his authority, and the Federal troops were withdrawn. 

Matters, however, continued in a most disturbed condition. There 
were riots in various parishes, originating in some instances in the at- 
tempt of Kellogg to collect the onerous and obnoxious back taxes. In 
Grant Parish the very negroes revolted, and resisted with arms. So 
matters progressed until the 14th of September, 1874. On that day a 
mass meeting of citizens assembled on Canal Street. They adopted res- 
olutions reciting that Kellogg and his Lieutenant Governor, although 
defeated in 1872, had seized the executive chair by fraud and violence; 


that, in order to control the result of the approaching election, Kellogg 
had, under an act passed by his Legislature for that purpose, secured 
to himself and his partisans the power of denying registration to bona 
fide citizens, whose applications for mandamus to compel registration 
were refused — the law, indeed, punishing the courts themselves if they 
dared to entertain such appeals; that Kellogg was a mere, 
whose government was arbitrary, unjust, and oppressive, and could 
only maintain itself by Federal intervention; that the election laws 
under which the coming election was being conducted were designed 
to perpetuate his usurpation, by depriving the people of their right to 
vote. These resolutions concluded by demanding Kellogg's immediate 
abdication, A committee of five was then appointed to wait upon him 
with this demand. He did not see the committee, but through a sub- 
ordinate conveyed his refusal. The communication of this refusal led 
to an immediate appeal to arms. Gov. McEnery was absent from the 
State. The Lieutenant Governor, D. B. Penn, issued a proclamation, 
calling upon the militia of the State, " without regard to color or pre- 
vious condition, to arm and assemble under the respective ofiicers, for 
the purpose of driving the usurpers from power." That afternoon a con- 
flict took place between the Peun militia, variously stated at from seven 
hundred to fifteen hundred, and six hundred of the metropolitan police, 
the latter having artillery. The police were defeated, with a loss of four- 
teen killed and about thirty wounded; the militia losing twelve killed 
and thirteen wounded, some of the latter mortally. Nest morning the 
police laid down their arms, and the capitol, with' all of the State prop- 
erty and records, was taken possession of by the militia for Lieut. Gov. 
Penn; the negroes in the streets, many of them, cheering the victors. 

Mr. Penn sent a dispatch to President Grant, briefly informing him of what had 
been done, and the reasons for it, and declaring the unswerving loyalty of the people. 
All he asked for was that the President should " withhold any aid or protection from 
our enemies, and the enemies of republican rights and of the peace and liberty of the 

Kellogg also sent on his version of the affair to the President, who responded 
promptly and energetically in a proclamation dated September 15, in which he com- 
manded the " turbulent and disorderly persons " to disperse and retire peacefully to 
their respective homes within five days, and to submit themselves thereafter to the 
laws and constituted authorities of the State. 

Thus were the people of Louisiana again put under the yoke which Senators Car- 
penter, Logan, Alcorn, and Anthony declared to have been originally imposed by 
fraud and violence.* 

The President made good his proclamation by sending troops and 
men of war to New Orleans to enforce it. No resistance whatever was 
made to the United States authorities. Gov. McEnery stating that he 
had neither power nor disposition to resist, and only making a protest. 

*" Three Decades of Federal Legislation," Cox, pp. 563-568. 


Mr. Banning, member of Congress from Ohio, a few montlis later said 
of th-is event that it "illustrates with striking force two facts: the 
first is the conservative feeling that anirnates this sorely tried and 
downtrodden people; the other, the fearfully despotic power that has 
grown up since the war at this national capital." * 

These stirring events naturally excited the greatest interest through- 
out the entire South; but it was feared that they would have an injuri- 
ous effect upon the approaching elections for Congressmen. 

During the months of October and November of this year (1874) Mr. 
Lamar made a most energetic canvass of his district, speaking at great 
length and with wonderful effect at many of the chief towns, espe- 
cially in the eastern part. In this canvass he rendered an account of 
his doings in Congress; discussed the Sumner eulogy and the Louisi- 
ana speech — answering objections and criticisms which had been made 
in respect to them — besides the current State and national questions of 
the day. There was no election pending in Mississippi, as there was in 
nearly every other State in the Union; since the Legislature had that 
year passed an act fixing the time for the election of Congressmen in 
the year 1875 and biennially thereafter. But the whole country was 
burning with the fever of politics, and the influence of the excitement 
was deeply felt in Mississippi as well. 

When the fateful day of November 3d came, and the news was 
flashed over the country of the great " landslide," by which the House 
was given over to the Democratic party by an overwhelming majority, 
and all further purely partisan legislation was soon to become impossi- 
ble, a great wave of jubilation swept over the South. It was thought 
that the long and dark days of subjugation were over; and hope, which 
through so many years had sickened and paled in the Southern heart, 
sprang into vigor and flower, as suddenly and as fully as the magical 
tree of the Eastern juggler. But in the very immensity of this joy, in 
the vastness of the release from long depression, lay a danger, new, 
but of the gravest character — the danger that the Southern people 
would misunderstand the significance and just limits of the great po- 
litical revolution; and, misunderstanding, should seek to use it for ends 
which the Northern people neither had intended nor would tolerate; 
and thereby that the condition of the South might finally become 
worse and more hopeless than ever before. 

With what admirable courage and magnanimity had the people of 
the Southern States, proud as they were, self -acquitted of wrong as they 
were, plundered and repressed as they were, borne their tremendous 
calamities! It remained to be seen whether' they could with equal, or 
even comparable, self-control bear a return of their prosperity. Might 

* Congressional Record, Vol. III., Part 2, p. 1139. 


it not well happen that the ship which had gallantly breasted so many 
raging storms should even yet strike some sunken reef, and go down 
hopelessly and inglorioasly under the clear sunlight and on a summer 
sea? Gen. Walthall wrote to Mr. Lamar: "AVe are in great danger of 
spoiling everything in Mississippi, I fear." 

There were, however, plenty of cool heads which thought and of eyes 
which saw, and they perceived that the vote of 1874 did not necessarily 
relieve the South of the repressive hand of Federal power in case she 
proved herself unworthy of confidence. The indictment against the 
Republican party on which the verdict had been rendered had included, 
it is true, a "count" upon "Southern wrongs." The Northern people 
had been willing to hear, and had heard, proof upon that point. The 
proofs had been strong. It was a great thing that the adminis- 
tration had been distinctly arraigned for bringing disgrace upon the 
American name by its course in that matter; but after all it was doubt- 
ful if the decision had been rendered altogether, or even mainly, on 
that issue. The true gain for the Southern States in the result of 1874 
was not a final judgment in their favor, but an opportunity to be heard 
before the great Areopagus of the American people, and heard through 
their representation in Congress, strengthened in numbers and im- 
proved in abilities and cliaracter. 

Views akin to the foregoing Col. Lamar earnestly and elaborately 
advanced in his speeches of this period. Naught remains of those ad- 
dresses except a few newspaper notices of the briefest, and fragmentary 
notes. He had great audiences everywhere, largely composed of ladies. 
His speeches were listened to " breathlessly," except when " interrupted 
by long and loud applause; " and he was always warmly seconded by lo- 
cal speakers. The burden of his exhortation was a loyal adherence to the 
amendments, and of all that they, legitimately interpreted, imported. 

Let it be distinctly understood [he urged] that we have a hearing under limitations. 
It is not a hearing on the validity of the amendments. They are fixed in the constitu- 
tion as immovably as are those provisions which guarantee to each State an equal repre- 
sentation in the Senate. Now is the time of the South's probation and her trial. Her 
trial will be within the limits of the constitution as it nmv stands. Her patriotism 
and intelligence are invited to aid in working out a most difficult problem affecting 
the whole country. Force from no quarter is to be applied to either race. The Ee- 
publicans failed to make party capital out of the Louisiana affair only because the 
striking and memorable action of those people showed that there was no plan there 
looking to the overthrow of national authority, no aspiration not bounded by the ho- 
rizon of the Union, no purpose to disturb the settlement of the franchise. 

Upon the opening of Congress in December Mr. Lamar returned to 
Washington, and thence on the 11th wrote to his wife as follows: 

Nearly all the papers in New England have come out for me as Speaker, but there 
is nothing in this beyond the expression of kind feeling. The party does not want a 
Southern man, nor should a Southern man permit himself to want that office. 

I am very often spoken of, or rather spoken to, about the Vice Presidency. That 


would be comfortable, would it not? It would give four years of rest and a good in- 
come, and Gussie and Jeimie such a fine time. I found myself thinking this way about 
it, and then I considered that in these thoughts I was considering my own advance- 
ment and happiness, and that there was no thought of what benefit it would be to 
our poor people in Mississippi. So I have given up all further thoughts about it. . ! . 

As was natural, the knowledge that their control of the House was 
about to end, and by consequence their power to shape the policy of the 
government, caused the leaders of the Radical party to assume at this 
the last session of this Congress a very aggressive attitude. If their 
policy was to be incorporated into the positive law, it was necessary to 
act at once. By such prompt action whatever of additional power 
might be conferred upon the Executive became of course irrevocable, 
even by a Democratic house. The Civil Eights Bill was pressed with 
great vigor, and finally passed, while a Force Bill was also introduced and 
urged with great insistence. Affairs took such a turn that investiga- 
ting committees upon " Southern outrages " were again sent out, and de- 
bates of the most exciting and irritating character upon Southern mat- 
ters consumed much of the time of Congress. 

The temper and purpose of the Executive received a most startling 
disclosure and ominous illustration by the further course of events in 
Louisiana. In that State the oppression of the people had gone beyond 
endurance. The public funds had been wasted and embezzled. Pub- 
lic debts had been piled up until the values of property were destroyed 
by excessive taxation. The November elections resulted again in a Con- 
servative victory by a majority of about six thousand votes, many negroes 
voting that ticket. The Radical party, however, still had the Returning 
Board. By throwing out the votes of some parishes altogether, by cut- 
ting off some of the vote in these, and by adding to the vote of those — 
all under pretext of intimidation of voters, this board reversed the pop- 
ular verdict, and announced a Radical victory as to the State Treasurer 
(the only State officer voted for) and a majority in the Legislature. This 
action the investigating subcommittee of Congress itself declared a 
few weeks later to have been on the whole arbitrary, unjust, and illegal; 
and the committee further said that that action alone prevented the re- 
turn of a majority of Conservative members to the Lower House. 

On the 25th of December Mr. McEnery published a manifesto to the 
effect that the wrong just perpetrated by the Returning Board vitally 
threatened the safety and integrity of republican institutions in the 
United States, and would not be submitted to by any free people; but 
that " resistance to national authority, represented here by a large por- 
tion of the army and the naval fleet sustaining the usurpation and stifling 
the voice of the people, has never been meditated." Said the Jackson 
(Miss.) Clarion: "This is the wisest course. If the oppressed people 
were to resist the national administration, which is pledged to uphold 


the Kellogg usurpation, they would play into the hands of the usurpers, 
insure defeat for themselves ultimately, and imperil the success of the 
political revolution in the Northern States with its promises of relief." 

On the 4th of January, 1875, the Legislature was to assemble in the 
Statehouse and organize. It did so assemble at 12 m. The Statehouse 
was surrounded by armed forces, amongst them eighteen hundred troops 
of the United States, the latter being placed there by Gen. Emory on 
the requisition of acting Gov. Kellogg. The Legislature assembled 
without any disturbance. The Clerk of the late House, Mr. Vigers, 
called the body to order. He called the roll of members furnished 
by the Eeturning Board. One hundred and two members answered to 
their names, of whom fifty-two were Eepublicans and fifty were Con- 
servatives. While the result was being announced one of the Conserv- 
ative members nominated for temporary Speaker Mr. J. A. Wiltz. The 
Clerk declared the motion out of order; but the mover put the motion 
himself, and announced that it was carried. 

Mr. Wiltz took possession of the chair, and amid much confusion a 
clerk and sergeant-at-arms were nominated, voted for, and declared 
elected. A resolution was then ofi'ered to seat five gentlemen, named, 
as members of the House. The status of those persons was this: They 
had been declared elected by the commissioners of election in their re- . 
spective parishes, but the radical Returning Board had declined to pass 
on the elections in the parishes which they claimed to represent, and 
had expressly referred their claims to the Legislature itself, thus direct- 
ly recognizing the possibility of their election. No adverse claimants 
contested any of their seats. The resolution was put to the House, de- 
clared carried, and the five members were sworn in. The House then 
proceeded to a permanent organization. Seventy-one members were 
present; fifty-seven voted— a legal quorum — and Mr. Wiltz, receiving 
fifty-five votes, was declared elected. He was then sworn in, and, the roll 
being called, the members were sworn in by him at the Speaker's stand — 
amongst them five Eepublicans who had participated in the proceedings, 
one of them being Mr. Hahn, the Eepublican caucus nominee for Speak- 
er. Other permanent oificers were then elected, and the House declared 
ready for business. A committee of seven on elections was appointed. 

At this stage considerable disturbance arose in the lobby. The ser- 
geant-at-arms was unable to stop it, and Speaker Wiltz sent for Gen. 
DeTrobriand, who was in command of the detachment of United States 
troops which occupied the Statehouse, and requested him to speak to the 
disorderly persons in the lobby, in order that a conflict might be pre- 
vented. The General did so, and order was restored. 

The House then proceeded with its business. The Committee on 
Elections then reported, and on its report eight other claimants of seats 
were received and sworn in as members. 


Meanwhile, when the temporary organization of the House was ef- 
fected, most of the Eepublicans left in a body, with Mr. Vigers, who 
took with him the original roll as furnished by the Secretary of State. 
All of the fifty-two Eepublicans then united in a petition to the act- 
ing Governor, setting forth their grievances and asking his aid; where- 
upon he requested the commanding general to assist him in restoring 
order, and in enabling the members " legally returned " to organize the 
Honse " according to law." 

Thereupon, at three o'clock in the afternoon, Gen. DeTrobriand, in full 
uniform, with his sword by his side, accompanied by two members of his 
staff and by Mr. Vigers, entered the hall where the Legislature was in 
session, and exhibited to Speaker Wiltz a communication from' Kellogg 
as Governor, requesting that he should " immediately clear the hall and 
Statehouse of all persons not returned as legal members of the House 
of Eepresentatives by the Eeturning Board of the State." The five 
members first seated, as above described, were those intended. They 
declined to go out. A file of United States soldiers was then brought 
into action. They entered the hall with fixed bayonets, seized the five 
members, and, against their protests, ejected them from their seats and 
the hall by force. When that had been done, the Conservative mem- 
bers left in a body with solemn protest. The soldiery kept possession 
of the hall; and then, under their protection, the Eepublican members 
organized the Legislature to suit themselves. 

One other feature is necessary to complete the picture. 

On the 24th of December preceding, the Secretary of War, for the 
President, had instructed Gen. P. H. Sheridan, then at Chicago, to visit 
Louisiana and Mississippi, in order to ascertain personally the general 
condition of affairs there, and to make to the President such suggestions 
as he should deem advisable and judicious. Gen. Sheridan was em- 
powered to assume command of the military division of the South, if he 
should see proper to do so. It was directed that the trip should appear 
to be one as much of pleasure as of business ; "for," it was said, "the 
fact of your mere presence in the localities referred to will have, it is 
presumed, a beneficial effect." 

On this "pleasure trip," then. Gen. Sheridan reached New Orleans on 
the 1st of January. On the 4tli (the day the Legislature met), by a gen- 
eral order made at nine o'clock in the evening, he assumed control of 
the Department of the Gulf, consisting of Louisiana, Mississippi, etc., 
announcing the fact to the Secretary of War by a telegram, in which he 
stated that a spirit of defiance to all lawful authority was rife in the 
State; that lawlessness and murder were so regarded as to give impu- 
nity to all who chose to indulge in either; and that the civil govern- 
ment appeared powerless to punish, or even to arrest. On the next 
morning he sent to the Secretary his celebrated dispatch that 


I think that the terrorism now existing in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas 
could be entirely removed, and confidence and fair dealing established, by the arrest 
and trial of the ringleaders of the armed white leagues. If Congress would pass a bill 
declaring them banditti, they could be tried by a military commission. The ringlead- 
ers of this banditti, who murdered men here on the 14th of last September, and also 
more recently at Vicksburg, Misp., should, in justice to law and order, and the peace 
and prosperity of this southern part of the country, be punished. It is possible that 
if the President would issue a proclamation declaring them banditti, no further action 
need be taken except that which would devolve upon me. 

The tidings of these remarkable proceedings flew through the coun- 
try like lightning. At the North, as well as at the South, the greatest 
excitement, not unmixed with consternation, prevailed. Liberal Repub- 
licans and Northern Democrats alike participated in these feelings and 
the demonstrations to which they led. Mass meetings were held in Cin- 
cinnati, New York, and other Northern cities, denouncing the action of 
the administration and the dispatches of Sheridan. To the Chair- 
man of the former meeting, Hon. George Hoadly (then a Republican, 
and afterwards Governor) wrote that: "I regard the administration as 
having been engaged now for three years in a conspiracy to deprive the 
people of Louisiana of their just right to govern themselves, and an ef- 
fort by force and fraud to substitute a State government which has 
never been chosen by that people for that of their own selection." Hon. 
W. S. Groesbeck, who had defended the impeachment of President 
Johnson, wrote that: " I think that such a meeting will be very proper. 
. . . The transactions to which you refer . . . have no precedent 
in our past, and should not be allowed to become a precedent for our 
future. Bayonets are out of place in legislative halls." And Gov. Al- 
len, a Democrat, wrote that: "A few of the Republican politicians may, 
but the Republican masses will not, stand passively by and see any man 
assuage his thirst for power in the Vjlood of the people." Hon. George 
H. Pendleton addressed .the meeting, praising the Louisiana people for 
their " wonderful self-control " under circumstances so trying, and for 
their acceptance of and submission to the results of the war. Resolu- 
tions were adopted, denouncing the invasion of the Legislature, con- 
demning the suggestion of Sheridan as a gross insult to the people of 
the whole country, demanding the reduction of military offices, and es- 
pecially the abolition of the office of lieutenant general, the rank held 
by Sheridan. 

A " monster meeting " was held in New York, on the 11th of January, 
at Cooper Institute, in which William Cullen Bryant, Peter Cooper, 
William M. Evarts, Charles A. Dana, and many others of similar sort, 
took part. Mr. Evarts spoke at length, to the effect that the effort to 
control the Legislature struck at its very existence; that such abuses of 
power, if sustained by the Republican party, would destroy it; that the 
people should teach their rulers that they were to act only in accord- 


ance with the law; that these were not Southern or Northern questions, 
nor Republican or Democratic, but American questions, since Louisiana 
was as much a State of the Union as was New York. Mr. Bryant spoke 
in similar strain, saying also that the President had no authority to in- 
terfere with Siate matters, except in so far as the constitution empow- 
ered him to do so; that no such power was given him by that instru- 
ment as to set himself up for a judge of elections and purger of Legis- 
latures ; that he might as well disperse electoral colleges which should 
refuse to him their votes, and might as well send another Sheridan to 
pull out from the executive chair the man whom the people of New 
York had recently elected for their Governor. 

Many of the leading newspapers expressed similar views. The Cin- 
cinnati Commercial (Republican) said that, "If it is made a party test 
to sustain Sheridan's Louisiana literature, there is an end of the Repub- 
lican party." The Philadelphia Ledger (Independent) spoke of it as a 
"humiliating sight to American eyes to see an ofScer of the United 
States ordered to enter a legislative chamber at the head of a platoon 
of soldiers, and at the dictation of the Governor whose own case is in- 
volved," etc. The New York Times (Republican) declared that, " There 
is no power in the President to 'proclaim' certain men 'banditti'; and 
there is none in Congress to outlaw a class who, whatever their offenses 
(and they are many and grave), have thus far shown a profound re- 
spect for the authorities of the United States." The Philadelphia In- 
quirer, which Mr. Schurz, in this connection, asserted to be "about as 
Republican as most Republican papers are nowadays all over the coun- 
try," said: 

Unless the Republican party is content to be swept out of existence by the storm 
of indignant protests arising against the wrongs of Louisiana from all portions of the 
country, it will see that this most shameful outrage is redressed wholly and at once; 
for if it is right for the Federal soldiery to pack the Legislature of one State in the 
manner the Attorney-general declares it shall be packed, or if it can be done, it is right 
and can be done in any other State. It is a matter that concerns Massachusetts, Cali- 
fornia, and Pennsylvania equally with Louisiana; for it is an act of Federal usurpa- 
tion, which, if not revoked and condemned by Congress, will lead inevitably to the 
destruction of the whole fabric of our government — 

Which is just what Mr. Lamar said seven months before in the con- 
clusion of his Louisiana speech in respect'to the Federal establishment 
of Kellogg as Governor. 

The agitation indicated in the preceding paragraphs was felt in Con- 
gress no less deeply than in the country. On the 5th of January, the 
next day after Gen. DeTrobriand's invasion of the Legislature, and 
probably while Gen. Sheridan's banditti telegram was in course of 
transmission, Senator Thurman, of Ohio, offered a resolution request- 
ing the President to inform the Senate whether any portion of the army 
had interfered with the organization of the Louisiana Legislature, and 


if SO, by what authority. This resolution and the message from the 
President which it finally elicited brought on a most acrimonious de- 
bate, which lasted throughout the entire month. Senators Thurman, 
Schurz of Missouri, Bayard and Saulsbury of Delaware, Tipton of 
Nebraska, and Hamilton of Maryland, took the lead in assailing the 
course of the President and of Gen. Sheridan; while Logan of Illinois, 
Morton of Indiana, Sherman of Ohio, Conkling of New York, Ed- 
munds and Morrill of Vermont, Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, Howe 
of Wisconsin, West of Louisiana, Clayton of Arkansas, and others, 
came to the defense; Senator Gordon, of Georgia, contenting himself 
with vindicating the people of the South from the assaults made upon 

The defense of the administration proceeded mainly upon two dis- 
tinct lines: first, that the parties with whom the military interfered, and 
the other Conservatives, were organizing the Legislature in a turbulent 
manner, and in contravention of the proper rules for organization; sec- 
ondly, a fierce counter assault upon the Southern people, and especially 
upon the people of Louisiana. The points made of the first class. Sen- 
ator Thurman, in his manly closing argument, characterized as nothing 
more than a sticking in the bark. The gravest feature of the dispute 
was the rancor of the renewed assault upon the South. 

Let one or two examples suffice: 

In his speech of the 14th Mr. Logan said: "Before the abolition of 
slavery who ever heard of a white man being punished for shooting a ne- 
gro? Nobody. If he shot a negro down, be would be liable to an action of 
trespass for the amount the negro was worth, the same as if the man had 
shot a horse. He paid the owner of the negro his value, and that ended 
it. The habit grew so strong that men down there think they have the 
same right now to murder negroes that they thought they had then." 

In his speech of the 5th Mr. Morton said: "I am glad that we have 
now come to the point where the ten thousand lies which have been sys- 
tematically sent from Louisiana as an apology and an excuse for the 
numerous murders that have been committed there can no longer blind 
the people and prevent them from seeing the exact condition of things. 
Sir, there has been a system of lying in regard to affairs in Louisiana 
that has had no parallel in this or any other country." 

In his speech of January 22 Mr. Sherman said: "All these outrages 
are committed in the name of and for the benefit of the Democratic 
party. If that day should come to which many of you look forward 
with hope, when the Democratic party shall be in power in this govern- 
ment, then one of two things will be true: either the blacks of the South 
will be turned over to the tender mercies of these men [/. e., Sheridan's 
banditti], or you will have again the fires of rebellion kindled in our 


Before this spectacle of a prostrated State, under the heat of these 
consuming j)assions, the hopes which the November election had in- 
spired in Mr. Lamar began to wither. On the 15th of February he 
wrote to his wife : 

I think the future of Mississippi is very dark. Ames has it dead. There can he 
no escape from his rule. His negro regiments are notiiing. He will get them killed 
up, and then Grant will take possession for him. May God help us ! 

But notwithstanding his hopeless and gloomy frame of mind, Mr. 
Lamar demeaned himself with great forbearance and dignity. Mr. 
Eandall, of Pennsylvania, however, who was hampered by no such de- 
terrents as controlled him, felt justified in saying to the Republican 
side of the House (in his speech of February 1): 

Instead of this legislation which you propose, prompted by the meanest passions 
and aimed to crush out a race, we have told you to come to your legitimate duties of 
legislation; pass your appropriation bills, reducing the amount as far as possible; re- 
vive the industry of the country, and again be a happy and prosperous people 
throughout the length and breadth of this land, whether in the North or in the South. 
When, in the name of Heaven, is this crusade against the South to end? When will 
you get over your mean purposes against these people? They surrendered their arms 
as brave men at Appomattox Courthouse, and if the policy of Gen. Sherman there 
stated had run through your legislation from that time to this hour we should have 
now a people reposing in tranquillity and peace, the terror of all other nations. 

This policy of'the Republican party, coupled with the startling course 
of events in Louisiana (especially the latter), excited again great dis- 
content and uneasiness in the South. A prominent lawyer of Missis- 
sippi wrote to Col. Lamar a long and insistent letter, from which the 
following extracts are taken: 

. . . Everybody counsels moderation. This, of course, is right, and no people 
under the sun have ever been more temperate and forbearing under wrong and op- 
pression than the people of the South. . . . It is the privilege of our representa- 
tives in Congress, few though they be, to denounce and expose the villainy and cor- 
ruption of our rulers, and, in the name of the constitution of our country, solemnly 
to protest against these outrages upon our rights and liberties. . . . It is feared by 
some of your friends that you are almost too slow in availing yourself of the oppor- 
tunity and occasion, that you are inclined to temporize too much. Your past course 
in Congress has established the impression with our oppressors that you are not an 
extremist, or radical, fire-eating disloyalist; now, then, take the benefit of it to expose 
their villainy, and publish the unprecedented wrongs of our people to the world. . 

To this letter Mr. Lamar replied, under date of January 18, 1875: 

... I do not think you fully understand the situation here, or what I am doing. 
Federal intervention in Louisiana and the Southern States has a twofold aspect: 
one which involves the prosperity and self-government of the Southern people. 
About this there is very little interest felt at the North, beyond a general desire to 
have the troubles cease. They would be gratified to see the South prosperous ; but 
they would not take the trouble to put Grant or any other Republican out, and to put 
a Democrat in as President, to accomplish this object. 

But the other aspect of the case involves the existence of liberty and constitutional 


government at the North; and the demonstrations by the Northern people, in view 
of this danger to their own free institutions, give me more hope of ultimate justice to 
our people than I have had for some weeks past. The questions have not, as yet, been 
formally introduced into the House; at least not in such away as to make debate 
proper or possible. When the occasion comes, as it must when the reports of the in- 
vestigating committees are made, I presume, though I am not certain of the fact, that 
the Southern representatives will be heard from. They generally concur as to the 
most effective mode of defense. Their protests should be firm and manly ; their ex- 
posure of the corruptions and wrongs which the governments of those States have 
been guilty of should be unsparing. But their animadversion upon the President of 
the United States should be marked by dignified moderation. The Northern people 
have more pride in Gen. Grant than they have in any living man. They have a 
strong feeling of admiration for Sheridan. They will tolerate no abuse of him by 
Southern representatives. The Radical party would raise a purse of fifty thousand 
dollars to pay prominent Southern men to denounce him in the style which you sug- 
gest as the proper course for me. I could not please these enemies better, or help 
them more, than by calling Gen. Grant a " besotted tyrant " and Sheridan a " brigand." 

The Northern people are alarmed at the rapid strides of executive usurpation, but 
it is for themselves. With all their jealousy of arbitrary government, they are still 
more jealous of the ascendency in Federal politics, which they fear the South will ac- 
quire by throwing a consolidated vote of one hundred and thirty-eight electoral votes 
for President, which, with two or three Northern States, would elect him. 

As to the fear of " some of my friends " that I am " almost too slow in availing my- 
self of the opportunity and occasion, that I am inclined to temporize too much," allow 
me to say, in perfect good feeling, that it arises from their being unwilling or unable, 
from their lack of knowledge of the situation here, to understand the position occu- 
pied by us Southern representatives in Congress. Whatever else may be said of a 
man who follows the counsels of his own mind as to what his duty to the interests of 
his people requires, regardless of consequences to himself, he is no temporizer. My 
course has been anything else but temporizing. 

You say in your letter : " I know that you are fully capable of taking care of yourself" 
Well, yes! I believe I am; but I am not attempting that just now. While events of 
such magnitude are passing before his eyes, a man who did not forget himself would 
deserve to be forgotten. I have thought of nothing but the situation of my country. 
At any rate, I have not sought eclat at home by attempting imposing displays of pas- 
sionate invective against a party which has even yet the power to inflict upon our 
defenseless people any suffering or oppression which awakened resentments may in- 
vent. The strength and energy and will of Southern Radicals are underestimated. 
The programme which they are attempting to force upon their party is as bloody and 
vigorous as that of the French Jacobins, and they are backed up by Grant. A few 
inflammatory speeches from our side would do their work for thern. Never was 
there a more critical period in our history than the present. The only course I, in 
common with other Southern representatives, have to follow, is to do what we can to 
allay excitement between the sections, and to bring about peace and reconciliation. 
That will be the foundation upon which we may establish a constitutional govern- 
ment for the whole country, and local self-government for the South. 

It was this determination of Mr. Lamar to indulge in no useless and 
unprofitable declamation, but, on the contrary, to work constantly for 
harmony, which dictated his course in respect to the Civil Eights Bill. 
His remarks of the 3d of February were: 

Mr. Speaker: I have no hope that any argument of mine will avail to prevent the 
passage of this bill or one similar to it in its essential provisions. It is evident that 


in the opinion of the majority of this House no light can be thrown upon the subject 
which will control its action. This chamber is empty. Were I to speak, I would 
have to address vacant chairs. . . . But, sir, as a representative of a portion of 
the people on whom this proposed legislation Is to operate, I feel it my duty to pro- 
test against this measure in any of its forms, as not only violative of the constitution, 
but irrelrievably disastrous to the peace, prosperity, and happiness of that people. 

In regard to this very feature of his character as a public man, the 
New York World had something to say in this month: 

Hon. L. Q. 0. Lamar is winning for himself the respect of both sides of the House. 
His speeches liitherto during this term have been distinguished by their pertinency. 
There is no more valuable reputation for a legislator to have, and none more sure to 
command " the ear of the House," than the reputation of never speaking except when 
he has something to say. This Mr. Lamar has fairly earned. His speeches on the 
new rule and on the Civil Eights bill have been true, timely, and pointed. ... In 
the hot debates of the last three days he has done more to vindicate the Southern 
people from the imputations recklessly put upon them than almost any other mem- 
ber of Congress. The Southern people could do themselves no greater service than 
by sending more such men as Mr. Lamar to represent them. 

As the session drew to its close the last great struggle for many 
years over Southern affairs came on; and the flames of partisan pas- 
sion, which leaped so high and so fiercely in the Senate during the 
month of January, now raged in the House. The Civil Eights Bill 
was passed through that body and done with. It was then before the 
Senate, and so certain of passage tiiat discussion of it had ceased, and 
the irritations incident to its discussion were subsiding. On the 18th 
of February, however, Mr. Coburn, Chairman of the committee which 
had been appointed to investigate the condition of political affairs in 
Alabama, reported to the House for its action the measure known as 
the "Force Bill." This step had been determined upon in a caucus of 
the Kepublican members. It was a purely party measure, avowedly 
designed to secure Republican ascendency in the States to be specially 
affected by it. The consideration of the bill, and the great struggle 
over its passage or defeat, came on Wednesday, the 24th of February. 
Two days later, in the National Republican, the presidential organ at 
Washington, appeared an editorial upon the pending bill, which closed, 
in large capitals, as follows: 



Of this editorial Mr. Hawley, of Connecticut— himself a Eepublican 
of the stanchest, but who, in common with several others of sim- 


ilar sort in the House, could not be persuaded that it was proper to 
pass the bill — could say, by way of apology, only this: 

The writer honestly thinks that liberty, that justice, equality, and fraternity will 
be trampled in the dust if the Republican party does not succeed. He thinks that it 
will be a wise policy to go to the very verge of constitutional power— even under his 
own acknowledgment — to perpetuate that party in power. I cannot say that. 

As before stated, it was on Wednesday, the 24th of February, that 
the Force Bill was called up for consideration. Only seven more 
working days remained to the Republicans before the adjournment of 
Congress would be forced by lapse of time. To the opponents of the 
bill delay meant everything. It was their sole refuge. If only time 
could be consumed until it should be too late for the bill, when passed 
by the House, to be also considered and passed by the Senate, then it 
could be defeated; otherwise not. Therefore they began to filibuster, 
under the admirable leadership of Mr. Randall; and the session of this 
day in the House affords a most remarkable example of that species of 
legislative tactics. The morning session, with the exception of a slight 
skirmish over the " order of business," was devoted to a consideration 
of appropriations, etc. ; but the opening of the evening session, at half 
past seven o'clock, witnessed the beginning in earnest of the battle. 
The opponents of the bill, contesting again the order of business, 
showered down all sorts of admissible dilatory motions and demands — 
motions to adjourn, questions of quorum, questions of contempt, dis- 
putes over preferences, divisions, and calls for the yeas and nays, ap- 
peals from the Chair— until the head swims to read them. The result 
was that the night of the 24th passed away; the noon of the 25th came 
and passed; and it was only at 4: 10 p.m. of Thursday that the House, 
utterly worn-out and famishing from a session of over twenty-nine 
hours, adjourned until Friday, the 26th. 

Thus the opponents of the bill had gained two precious days. Only 
five remained, but in the meantime they had exhausted all of their re- 
sources. Delays could be obtained only under limitations imposed by 
certain parliamentary rules; and, working skillfully under those rules, 
the Eepublican phalanx had steadily and inexorably, although slowly, 
pressed on to its final end; and when the long session adjourned the 
bill was reached. The morning of Friday would probably witness its 
call and passage under the previous question. Sufficient time had not 
been gained, and matters looked very dark indeed for the Southern 

Mr. Lamar, with the others, was in despair. He regarded the pas- 
sage of the Force Bill not only as an indignity and an humiliation to the 
South, but also as an unmeasurable calamity to the nation. It meant 
the tearing open of old wounds and the perpetuation of bayonet rule. 
It was the undoing of the mission of the peacemaker. To him person- 


ally it signified the blasting of his one great hope, the toppling over 
into irretrievable ruin of the whole structure of his later life. 

Mr. Lamar's noble course in Congress stood the South in good stead 
then. Through it, and through the kindly feeling which it had engen- 
dered for him, he was enabled to accomplish in this emergency what prob- 
ably no other Democrat could have done. He found the way out of the 

He had not taken an active part in the filibustering; bat after the 
adjournment, late at night, contemplating the fateful morrow, and des- 
perate about the hapless prospect, he visited the Speaker at his resi- 
dence. He impressed upon Mr. Blaine, who was understood not to be 
iQ sympathy with the bill, the disasters with which its passage threat- 
ened the South. He appealed to him, with the wonderful power which 
he had to reach the better and higher natures of men when he wished, 
to extricate the South, if possible, from the toils closing around her; 
and there he received from the Speaker a hint which was used to good 
purpose on the following day. 

When the House convened at eleven o'clock the clerk began to read 
the minutes of the previous session. Mr. Storm, of Pennsylvania, in- 
terrupted, raising the point of order that the clerk was not reading the 
names of the persons voting in the negative and the affirmative on the 
several votes. This was Mr. Blaine's hint to Mr. Lamar. The yeas 
and nays and the roll of the House had been called forty times; and to 
read those names would alone consume several hours. The Speaker 
asked: "Does the gentleman insist on their being read?" Said Mr. 
Storm: "I do." This brief colloquy settled the great issue. Mr. 
Hurlburt then ofifered a compromise resolution to the effect that by 
unanimous consent the sundry civil bill should have the day until five 
o'clock; that at half past seven the Force Bill should be taken up for 
debate only, the previous question to be afterwards called upon the 
same whenever the House should so order. This, being agreed to, won 
all of Friday for the defense. 

On Saturday the bill was passed, but not until midnight. When it 
went into the Senate on Monday it was too late to pass it under the 
rules of that body, and so it was abandoned after a feeble eifort. 

For his friendly service in this matter Mr. Lamar ever entertained 
the greatest gratitude to Mr. Blaine. He spoke of it frequently; and 
in the heated Presidential campaign of 1884, when Mr. Blaine was sub- 
jected to much severe criticism and abuse, in his public speeches Mr. 
Lamar refused to make any personal assaults upon him, saying that he 
could never forget what he had done for the South in 1875. 

During the sitting of Congress, on the 9th of January, Mr. Lamar, in 


response to a request from the editor of tlie Xciv York Herald, wrote an 
open communication on the Southern questions, which is as follows: 

To THE Editor of the Hekald. 

Sir: In reply to your request that I shall state to you " what socially and politically 
would be the result in your [my] State if the Federal Government should at once and 
entirely cease to interfere in the affairs of your State, and leave Mississippi to govern 
itself and its people to manage their own local affairs just as the people of New York 
or Pennsylvania manage their own," I answer: 

1. The rights of personal security and of property would be under the changed cir- 
cumstances referred to as secure as they are in any community on earth. The dis- 
turbances there now are purely of a political nature. Public opinion in that State re- 
gards any white man as ignoble and cowardly who would cheat a negro or take ad- 
vantage of him in a trade or who would wantonly do him a personal injury. A jury, 
if it should incline in its sympathies either way, would fevor the weaker man in an 
appeal to the laws. 

2. As to political rights, I presume that your question points to those rights which 
the Northern people have insisted upon being secured to the black race — to wit, the 
rights of suffrage, of service on juries, and legal eligibility to office. I do not believe 
that any serious movement would be made in my State to injure or abridge any of 
those rights. In the exercise of them there might be some slight occasional disturb- 
ances. They would, however, be the mere transient incidents of the resumption by our 
people of local self-government to which they have been unused by ten years of re- 
pression, and would entirely cease in a very short time. 

As to the political complexion of the State if the people are allowed to rule their 
own local affairs as those of the Northern States are, it cannot be doubted that with 
us, as with you, brains, intelligence, and moral strength will ultimately rule; and it 
is certain that, as the negro population is for the most part poor and ignorant, it will 
fall under the influence in a great degree, as the same element does everywhere, of its 
employers; an influence which it will be to the employers' interest to increase by 
kind treatment and protection. This cannot be helped. It is the natural course in a 
free State, and it will have in our case the great advantage of obliterating the color 
line and ranging men in parties without regard to race, which can never be done 
while the present system of Federal interference continues. Let me not be misunder 
stood. There is among the whites in our State no color line organization in the sense 
usually attached to that term. The history of political combinations since the war in 
Mississippi shows a constant but fruitless effort to break down a political barrier which 
Federal power has erected, and which Federal power can alone maintain. The white 
man is made by the direct action' of the Federal Government the political antipathy 
of the black, and is pointed out to the latter as the common enemy, and as the enemy 
of both himself and the government. By constituting itself as the negro's sole pro- 
tector in the State it drives him to trust only its agents and partisans, often men of 
the vilest character, and rarely men who have any material relation to the State or to 
society among us. The negro is thus isolated from the white people among whom he 
lives, and the Federal power thus makes him an alien in our society, though invested 
with the highest political prerogatives, thus forcing him into an attitude which tends 
also to force the white race into a similar position toward him. Here is the true 
cause of the disturbances of which you in the North have greatly exaggerated ac- 
counts. I repeat, they are invariably political. Withdraw the disturbing force, leave 
our population to the responsibility of local self-government and to the natural opera- 
tion of social and industrial forces, and all that is now deranged and disorderly will 
certainly and permanently arrange itself; not perhaps at first without friction, but 


with, I am confident, an immediate decrease of friction and a <rradually but surely 
lessening amount of disorder. At the very worst it will be as nothing in comparison 
with the strife and intestine commotion with which our land is now cursed. 

Is there not statesmanship enough among our rulers to perceive that such govern- 
ments as we now have in some of the Southern States must be constantly running 
down, and that these appeals to the United States army and this use of it which is 
now startling the country nmst continue a constantly recurring evil, or rather must 
tend toward becomifig a fixed and permanent element in our system of government? 

Of this letter the Jackson Clarion said: 

The Eepubllcans cannot gainsay, and the Democrats and Conservatives of Missis- 
sippi will unhesitatingly indorse, the declarations contained in the letter of our distin- 
guished representative to the New York Herald. 

The Jackson Pilot (Republican organ) said that " the Democratic papers of this State 
are perfectly furious with Mr. Lamar . . . because in a recent letter to the New 
York Herald that gentleman confessed that the ' recent disturbances in his State were 
of a purely political nature.' "... 

This statement the Clarion reproduced and denied, and a few days 
later said editorially: 

"We replied that this was a misrepresentation ; that out of the forty or fifty Demo- 
cratic papers in the State the Pilot could not name two that were " furious with Mr. 
Lamar '' on account of his letter to the New York Herald. The Pilot rejoins by citing 
four that have made some complaints about his course, but none of them seems to 
have specified this particular letter. Of these four papers one is out of existence, and 
the other three, according to the Pilot's logic, constitute " the Democratic press of this 

The obvious comment upon this letter and this controversy of the Pi- 
lot's springing is that Mr. Lamar's expression of a "purely political 
nature " was wrested from its true signification. What he meant was 
that the disturbances alluded to grew out of the maladministration and 
corruption of the government imposed upon the State against the will 
of the people, and not that they arose from any effort or disposition on 
the part of the whites to deny to the blacks the civil and political rights 
to which they were entitled by law. This makes a difference, but it 
suited the purpose of the Pilot to place the latter construction upon the 
phrase for obvious reasons. The object of introducing this tilt between 
the papers is to show that, in fact, Mr. Lamar's letter was indorsed by 
the Democratic press of the State. 

The elections for State officers and Congressmen were to be held in 
New Hampshire on the 9th of March, and Mr. Lamar and Senator Gor- 
don, of Georgia, were invited by the Democratic State Executive Com- 
mittee to make speeches in that State in the interest of the party. 
Yielding to that invitation and the earnest request of the Democratic 
Senators and members from the North, Mr. Lamar consented to go. 
Senator Gordon also went. Mr. Lamar's address at Nashua, in which 


he presented the defense of the South, is thus reported and printed in 

the Boston Advertiser: 

'Sasbva., N. H., March 7. 

Representative Lamar, of Mississippi, spoke to the citizens of Nashua last evening 
on the condition of his people at the South. Though the hall was engaged by the 
Democratic Committee, and he was invited by it to speak, it was by no means a party 
gathering that assembled. Republicans and Democrats, attracted by the reputation 
which he bears for eloquence, ability, and worth, crowded the large hall till they filled 
it to overflowing. His address was exactly suited to the mixed character of his audi- 
ience. It was remarkably nonpartisan, consisting merely of a statement of facts 
braced by the reports of Congressional investigation and a logical tracing of the causes 
which have led to whatever turbulence and disquietude exist; containing scarcely an 
allusion to either of the two political parties, and none whatever to the approaching 
election. He spoke for about two hours, not concluding till nearly eleven o'clock, and 
retained the closest attention to the last; and then, as several times before, there were 
loud calls for him to continue. The address was earnest and forcible, and made a deep 
impression upon those who listened to it. Mr. Lamar was preceded by Col. F. W. 
Parker, of Manchester, a lifelong Republican, who made a very earnest and powerful 
speech in which he, with sadness, gave as his reason for voting the Democratic ticket 
the fact that he could not express his sentiments through the leaders of his own 
party. He did not believe the Democratic victories were owing to the good that that 
party had done. 

Representative Lamar was received with great applause. When it had subsided 
he said : 

"Felloiv-cHizens of Ne>i: Hampshire: I cannot realize in words the idea I have of what 
would be appropriate for me to say upon this, my first appearance before the people 
of this grand old Commonwealth. I don't know that I can better attest my high ap- 
preciation of the honor you have conferred upon me by inviting me here and of the 
cordial greeting that you have given me than by speaking to you from the depths of 
my heart my honest thoughts. I have come under the persuasion that the citizens of 
this State, as indeed the people all over this country, desire that the era of sectional 
discord and alienation and strife from which the country has been so long suffering 
shall be brought to a close; and that a new one shall be inaugurated which shall be 
illustrious as an era of cordial reunion between the sections, of harmonious fraternity 
between the people. There is but one impediment, I apprehend, in the way of that 
cordial understanding. I don't believe that there exists on the part of the people of 
the North any desire to oppress our people or to continue the system of Federal inter- 
ference in our local affairs. The only obstacle, therefore, in the way of harmony in 
this country is the apprehension in the minds of many honest people that such is the 
condition of affairs in Southern States, such the temper of the Southern people, that 
local self-government in that section will not jjive the guarantee of personal security, 
of personal liberty, of prosperity, and of political rights to which American citizens 
of all classes and of all races are entitled. 

"I propose this evening to lay before you calmly and dispassionately the condition 
of the South, the attitude of her people, their intentions, their purposes, their aspira- 
tions. I would have preferred to have come among you upon some other occasion 
than that of a political canvass. Coming to plead the cause of one people to another, 
the very sanctity and dignity of my mission naturally lift me above the petty passion 
and ambitions of party strife, and my only motives are my final judges: God, con- 
science, truth, country, posterity. [Applause.] And if among my motives there 
lurked one less pure than truth, if there were in my heart a glancing thought of party 
profit or party advantage at any approaching election, I should feel that I was trifling 
with sacred interests. [Applause.] 


" It has been represented to you, fellow-citizens of New Hampshire, that upon the 
part of the native white population of the South there is a determined scheme to obtain 
supremacy and control, if necessary by organized fraud, violence, murder, for the pur- 
pose of subjecting the newly enfranchised race of that section to a servitude something 
akin to their former bondage, and to defeat the results which you have achieved by the 
war that you closed in 1865. If you will give me your attention, I think I can satisfy 
you that no such purpose exists. That there do exist in some of the Southern 
States a disquietude in reference to political affairs, and disorder amounting sometimes 
to bloody conflicts, which do not pxist to the same extent in the Northern States or 
in the other Southern States, and which ought to be unknown in the working of 
American institutions, I do not deny. I make this statement in all candor ; and I want 
to show you that these disorders are referable to no ambition for political supremacy, 
to no party passion. Those motives existed in the South before the war far more 
powerfully than they do at this time. Then, when the people of the North were 
engaged in the pursuits of literature and science and mectanic arts and manufactur- 
ing and commerce, regarding the science of government as the highest of all sciences, 
the Southern people looked upon political celebrity as the highest object of a noble 
ambition. Hence parties were equally divided as Whigs and Democrats, Know-noth- 
ings and anti-Know-nothings, and they struggled fiercely for supremacy, with alter- 
nate success and defeat; and yet the tranquillity of society was not disturbed. At 
this time one of the great evils in the South is the disposition among tlie masses of 
the intelligent people of that country to withdraw from all action in political struggles, 
from all participation in the responsibility of government, as a task too arduous, too 
hopeless, too thankless. Nor are these disorders owing to any lurking discontent with 
the operation of the amendments to the constitution, nor to any antagonism of races 
in that section. Whenever these conflicts have occurred a careful analysis of the facts 
will show you that they have grown out of a condition of things which neither race 
had any agency in producing. Amid the shade around those striking and memorable 
events in Louisiana, through the gloom which surrounds the dark tragedy at Vieks- 
burg, this fact, as if by a flash of light, has been revealed: that in all the agitation in 
that section there has been no tendency to conflict with national authority, no aspira- 
tion not bounded by the horizon of the Union, no purpose to disturb the settlement 
of elective franchise. [Applause.] The people of the South regard the amendments 
to the constitution as an integral part of that instrument. The amendments which 
gave emancipation to the black man, which gave him citizenship and suffrage, they 
regard as indelibly fixed upon that instrumentj embodied in it, as sound and inviola- 
ble as the original charter which came from the hands of their fathers. [Applause.] 

" What then is the cause or combination of causes which, not existing in the North, 
not existing in far the greater portion of the South, and not existing in the disturbed 
localities before the war, has produced this deplorable state of things? The President 
of the United States in his annual message uses the following remarkable language. 
Speaking of the people among whom these disturbances exist, he says: ' I sympathize 
with their prostrate condition, acknowledging [Fellow-citizens, that is a remarkable 
expression for the President of the United States to use in communicating informa- 
tion to Congress] that in some instances they have had most trying governments 
to live under, and very oppressive ones in the way of taxation for nominal improve- 
ments, not giving benefits equal to the hardships imposed.' Have you not here re- 
vealed an adequate cause for discontent and disturbance? In what age of the world, 
in what country, have not such eflects followed from oppressive governments, impos- 
ing burdens of taxation, with no corresponding benefit, upon a prostrate people? 
Why, my fellow-citizens, what is the use of Congressional investigation, what is the 
use of appealing to passion and hatred, when you have here from the Executive 
himself causes which in all ages have produced disorder, violence, and bloodshed? 


'Oppressive government!' What does that signify? It means the sway of corrup- 
tion, cupidity and craft, peculation and embezzlement, intimidation of voters, bribery, 
waste of public treasure, lose of public credit, false Returning Boards, fraudulent ballot- 
ing, intimidation by the Federal military, taxation in all its grinding and diversified 
forms. 'Prostrate condition!' What does that mean? It means a people reduced 
to bankruptcy and wretchedness, agriculture prostrated, commerce, trade, mechanics, 
arts, all broken down, enterprise paralyzed, the resources of industry drunk up, and 
the people with hearts broken by the spoliation and oppression and plunder and im- 
purity of their rulers. [Applause.] 

" But, fellow-citizens, on this point I have higher authority than that of the Presi- 
dent of the Nation, high and exalted as his position is. In view of these terrible and 
harrowing stories of outrages and murders in the South, a committee was appointed 
upon Southern affairs, ordered by a Republican House of Representatives, appointed 
by a Republican Speaker. They sent a subcommittee, the majority of which were 
Republicans: Messrs. Phelps and Foster and Potter. Mr. Foster is a Republican of 
the most decided character, representing a radical district, ardent and uncompromis- 
ing in his tendencies. In the session before, he had won reputation for faithfulness 
as an investigator and for his adherence to the conclusions to which his investigations 
conducted him. Mr. Phelps was also a Republican of decided tendencies, but a man 
of lofty patriotism which raised him above party following, and made him in the 
midst of great events act with sole reference to the welfare of the whole country. 
Mr. Potter, of New York, was a Democrat, but one whose reputation for integrity, 
honor, and ability was too high to allow him to peril it by signing his name to a par- 
tisan or unfair report. I speak of these facts to show you that they repaired to this 
disturbed district looking at the same events and condition of things with minds 
somewhat diverse. Yet, after a long and laborious investigation, they make a unani- 
mous report. I will read from that report to you. Speaking of the charge that there 
had been intimidation of colored voters, the committee say that it was not borne out by 
the facts before them. ' No general intimidation of Republican voters can be estab- 
lished ; no colored man was produced who had been threatened or assaulted by any 
Conservative because of political opinion, or discharged from employment or refused 
employment. Of all those [This is a report, gentlemen, a unanimous report, of a com- 
mittee, two of whom are Republicans and one a Democrat] who testified to intimida- 
tion, there was hardly any one who of his own knowledge could specify a reliable in- 
stance of such act. Of the white men who were produced to testify generally on this 
subject, very nearly all, if not every single one, was the holder of an oflSce. Through- 
out the rural districts of the State the number of white Republicans are very few; it 
hardly extends beyond those holding office and those connected with them. No wit- 
ness, we believe, succeeded in naming in any parish five Republicans who supported 
the Kellogg government who were not themselves officeholders or related to office- 
holders, or themselves having official employment' You remember, fellow-citizens, 
that the Returning Board, a Republican Returning Board, in New Orleans ejected 
enough Democrats to make the Republicans have a majority in the Legislature. 
They were turned out of the Legislature by the power of the Federal military. 
Here is what the committee say upon that subject: ' Without now referring to the 
other instances, we are constrained to declare that the action of the Returning Board 
on the whole was arbitrary, unjust, and in our opinion illegal ; and that this arbitrary, 
unjust, and illegal action alone prevented the returning by the board of a majority of 
Conservative members to the Lower House.' They go on to declare that thereis a 
fearful despotism in that country, that is taking all the substance of the people, taxing 
property in New Orleans an annual amount exceeding the rents of the property, tax- 
ing some of the rural parishes to the amount of eight per cent. 

" So much for that. When this report, unanimous, came to Congress, it struck the 


people with astonishment; the Republican members were silent in their amazement, 
and at once the other portion of the committee repaired to New Orleans for the pur- 
pose of making a different report. Messrs. Hoar of Massachusetts, Wheeler of New 
York, Frye of Maine, with Mr. Marshall, Democrat, from Illinois, repaired to New 
Orleans for the purpose of taking testimony, and making a report which might coun- 
teract the effect of this unanimous report of the subcommittee, which showed that 
the people of Louisiana were writhing under all the oppression which a government 
corrupt, incompetent, and tyrannical could inflict. [Applause.] Well, the character 
of that last committee— especially of its Chairman, Mr. George F. Hoar — was such 
as to lead to no expectation that there would be any indulgence shown to the people 
of the South, or any very harsh criticism of his own party. By inheritance, by train- 
ing, by political association, he was intensely anti-Southern. His manners toward 
Southern men, so bitter are his feelings, are often cold and reserved; and nothing but 
his instinct and refinement as a gentleman, which he is in every respect, saved him 
from sometimes being supercilious; acute in intellect, cultured, trained to the high- 
est expansion of his powers,' quick in his resentments and combative in temperament, 
we certainly expected no quarter from his hands. But beneath all this there were 
genuine truth and manhood in Hoar that lifted him above the sordid feeling of ma- 
lignant passion. He went, then, to that country, and he made a report; and, while 
there is much in it that saddened my heart, while there Is much which I say is un- 
wise and unjust in his observations, there are some things, fellow-citizens, which you 
people of the North should hark to bear in mind, while you are coming to your con- 
clusions with reference to the relations which you intend to sustain to the prostrate 
people in my section. Here, fellow-citizens, is what Mr. Hoar says in reference to the 
South : ' We don't overlook the causes which tended to excite deep feeling and discon- 
tent in the white population of Louisiana [I must read these extracts to you becausea 
people's interest, a people's destiny, hang largely upon the action of the people of New 
Hampshire and other Northern States]. There has been great maladministration; 
public funds have been wasted [That means public funds have been embezzled, appro- 
priated by these governments that are sucking the blood, the lifeblood, from a 
people already impoverished by four years of calamitous war] ; public lands have 
been wasted, public credit impaired.' Now, [fellow-citizens, that is the testimony of 
one of the most uncompromising Republicans in this country. Mr. Frye, who is can- 
vassing this State, has his name signed to that statement, but I don't hold him re- 
sponsible for it; perhaps the sentiment of the report was not his, and that he simply 
joined in the resolutions which were recommended by the committee. I don't wish 
to misrepresent the views of any gentleman. He goes on, speaking of some of the 
causes which have led to discontent and turbulence in Louisiana. Among them is the 
fact that the administration party of Louisiana is made up by massing together the 
whole negro vote with a few whites, largely from other States; the fact that there has 
been great maladministration by Republican officers, much dishonesty, much corrup- 
tion, in State and local administration. 

"I will give you pne more evidence, fellow-citizens, upon this subject. Mr. Hale, 
of Maine, has testified, and let us hear what his testimony is: ' For the last four years 
the infamy and disgrace of certain Southern governments [O, you are now hearing 
about outrages on the Southe^'n people, speaking of these Republican governments in 
Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, and South Carolina] have been 
heard of in Congress. There have been corrupt electors and corrupt elections. There 
have been corrupt legislators and corrupt legislation [Mark it, fellow-citizens, this 
language is not that of a red-hot Democrat in New Hampshire ; it is not the utterance 
of a rebel; it is the language of the loyal Eugene Hale, from Maine, speaking of Re- 
publican governments in the Southern States] ; there have been double Legislatures, 
double Governors, double Representatives in this House, and double Senators, year 


by 3'ear, in many States; there have been bad men in these States, who have bought 
power by wholesale bribery, and have enriched themselves at the expense of the 
people by peculation and underhanded robbing. Corruption and anarchy have occu- 
pied these States.' 

" But, fellow-citizens, another committee was sent to Arkansas. It was said that 
the banditti and marauders and the murderers of Arkansas had overturned the work 
of reconstruction, had usurped the government, and reduced (or were about to reduce) 
the black population of that country to a condition worse than their former bondage 
in slavery. That committee was composed of Mr. Poland of Vermont, Mr. Sayler, 
and another gentleman whose name I do not recall, but a Eepublican. There were 
three Republicans and two Democrats. Mr. Poland, an able jurist, examines into the 
condition of things there. He reports that the government now established in Arkan- 
sas is the representative of the majority of the people of that State, white and black; 
that it is the result of the spontaneous vote, and that peace and order and tranquillity 
prevail in that State, under this new government in the hands of the people, as great 
as has ever prevailed there. This committee was unanimous, save one. I wish to say, 
fellow-citizens, in respect to this charge of the public press that the black men hold 
no office in that government (I have the authority of a Republican member from Ar- 
kansas for saying it), that there are three hundred black men in that government at 
this time. In that Conservative government of Arkansas there are three hundred of- 
ficeholders who are men of color. That is the way in which they are oppressed. 
Why, we in Mississippi have often voted for colored men for office. The» Conserva- 
tives of Mississippi voted for the adoption of the fifteenth amendment in 1869. Don't 
misunderstand me. They didn't vote to abide by it after it was adopted ; they didn't 
vote to acquiesce in it; they voted for it, at the ballot box, in. the Legislature. The 
Conservative men of Mississippi voted for the incorporation into the constitution of 
the fifteenth amendment. How can they be charged with being hostile to an 
amendment; which they themselves voted to incorporate into the law? [Applause.] 

" Now I appeal to you, men of New Hampshire, if from this record of facts, given 
by Congressmen who were on the spot, you have not a cause adequate to explain all 
the disorders in that country, without attributing to it any antagonism of races, or to 
unholy ambition for political supremacy? I ask you, fellow-citizens, if it is not nat- 
ural that such governments, such officers as these, should excite discontent and dis- 
turbance among our people? Is it possible for an intelligent people and a virtuous 
people to regard with reverence and awe and obedience a government whose rulers 
are embezzlers, rogues, and lawbreakers? Would you do it? [Cries of 'No!'] 
Why, fellow-citizens, the world over, 'oppressive governments,' 'prostrate people,' 
' burdens of taxation,' have always been accompanied either by turbulence, by discon- 
tent, by resistance on the part of the people, or by abject and degrading submission." 

Speaking of the character of the people of the South, Mr. Lamar read from the mes- 
sage of the President, in which he says that there is a disposition among them to be 
law-abiding; and from the report of Mr. Hoar, in which he says that they possess cour- 
age, that they are truthful, hospitable, and generous. When he read these latter words, 
which the power of proof had drawn from that adaruantine nature, he felt something 
of the emotion which he experienced as a boy when he read of the waters that 
gushed from the rock under the Heaven-inspired rod of Moses. [Applause.] Accord- 
ing to the testimony of all these men, of the President, of the committees, of Mr. Hale, 
these were corrupt governments, oppressive governments, bearing down on a gener- 
ous, brave, truthful, magnanimous people. The question was, whether or not these 
measures of reconstruction which had been proposed were just. In this connection 
he spoke strongly against the Force Bill and all other measures of Federal interfer- 
ence. He charged the drawing of the color line upon the Federal Government. The 
two races were attached to each other by bonds of affection. There was not a 


negro in the whole South who was not dear and endeared to some white man, 
woman, or child. The government interfered, and broke asunder their relations, the 
first lesson it taught the negro being distrust. He wished it distinctly to be under- 
stood that the capacity of the negro race for freedom and for the duties of citizenship 
should not be determined by the government, or by any of the occurrences that have 
taken place. Negro freedom and negro citizenship and negro suffrage had not had a 
fair opportunity for favorable development at the Soutli. They had been continually 
in the control of agents of the Federal Government. It would be unjust to them to 
form any estimate of their capacity to use the demands of their high position by the 
events of the last ten years. If his hearers wished to see Southern society reorgan- 
ized, the best market in the world reestablished, they should give to the South those 
institutions which were established two hundred and thirty years ago in the hills of 
New Hampshire — local self-government. [Applause.] 

In closing, after giving illustrations to show that the reports of outrages and dis- 
turbances at the South had been exaggerated, he said: " I assure you that there is no 
antagonism to the Union in that Southern country. If you were to attempt to confer 
a separate nationality upon them, they would not accept it as a boon. They all be- 
lieve and feel, in their shattered condition, that their hope and the hope of the Amer- 
ican people is the preservation of the Union. [Applause.] They are actually hun- 
gering and thirsting after a government which they can love and revere. [Applause.] 
They are ready to rally around your old flag, which for the last ten years has been 
to them not an emblem of protection, but an emblem of force. Just vouchsafe to 
them the benefits of government as you enjoy them yourselves; give them the right 
of local self-government; that is all they ask, and they will teach their children to 
lisp : ' Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable.' " 

The speeches of Lamar and Gordon were made in a district which at 
the last election had gone Republican by a large majority, and in which 
the outlook for the Democrats was darkest. It is stated that " the Rad- 
ical managers raised a great howl over the visit of ' the rebel soldiers.' " 
The result of the election as a whole was unfavorable, the Republican 
majority being increased; but, on the other hand, the Democrats gained 
a Congressman. 

The Philadelphia Times said: "The election returns show that wherever Gens. 
Gordon and Lamar spoke the Democrats made unprecedented gains." . . . 

The Washinglcm City Herald (Democratic) : " If the sincere and eloquent words of these 
honest and earnest men, pleading for peace a,nd good wiU between the sections, could 
have been listened to by every voter in the Granite State, the result might have been, 
as we firmly believe, an overwhelming conservative triumph. In the district where 
their addresses were made a Democratic Congressman was chosen, although it has 
hitherto been represented by a Republican." 

The Springfield (Mass.) Republican : " That (hey made votes for the Democratic can- 
didates is probable;" and then proceeds to argue that they did a higher work in re- 
moving false impressions which had been made on the Northern mind by political 
partisans who live on the sectional agitation which is kept up at the expense of the 

Returning to Washington, Messrs. Lamar and Gordon stopped for a 
few hours in Boston, where they were entertained by the Marshfield 
Club, at the Somerset Clubhouse, on Beacon street. The invitation 
was accepted with the understanding that the gathering should be in- 

224 LUCIUS Q. C. LA if AM: 

formal, as both were greatly fatigued. President Harvey rose and 
gave the usual toast, which is always remembered when members of 
that club meet, to "the memory of Daniel Webster, the defender and 
expounder of the constitution." He then brieiiy addressed the guests, 
stating that the club was organized and sustained by men who believed 
in the doctrines that Mr. Webster taught. He gave some interesting 
reminiscences of the great statesman, and closed by proposing Gen. 
Gordon's health. The Senator was then received with prolonged and 
hearty applause, and spoke earnestly and eloquently for half an hour 
about the condition and feelings of the people of his State. He was 
frequently interrupted by enthusiastic applause. 

The President then proposed the health of Representative Lamar, of 
Mississippi, who responded by a speech of half an hour in behalf of 
the suffering South: 

He was glad to be the guest of men who aimed to follow the precepts taught by 
the immortal Webster. In his boyhood he had imbibed the doctrines of John C. 
Calhoun ; but now that the war had settled the issues upon which Calhoun and Web- 
ster most disagreed, he could see that upon all points bearing upon the questions 
which agitate the country to-day the views of Webster and Calhoun were substan- 
tially the same. Each, in his day, was considered the defender and expounder of 
the constitution. They were both binding up the sheaves in the great field where 
the seeds of liberty had been sown. They both held to the supremacy of the law and 
the constitution. They simply differed as to its interpretation. Were they alive 
now, they would stand, hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder, in opposition to the 
usurpations and violations of the constitutional rights of the States that had been 
practiced during the later years. All the teachings of both these men were opposed 
to the idea of executive interference with the domestic concerns of the States. They 
were opposed to everything that bore a semblance of absolutism in government. 
They did not believe that the constitution was a thing that could be lightly set aside. 
Mr. Lamar then gave a number of incidents in the lives of the two great statesmen 
which proved how entirely they were in accord on these points. If they had been 
living in 1860, they could have settled the difficulties that provoked the late war in a 
single hour, had the questions at issue been submitted to them. There was no real 
difference in regard to the form of the government. The people of the North and of 
the South were agreed on that point. It was a war for the vindication of the inter- 
pretation of the constitution, to which each side adhered, as represented by Webster 
and Calhoun. 

Hon. Henry W. Paine, ex-Go v. Gardner, and Hon. Leverett Salton- 
stall spoke briefly in response to the sentiments of their distinguished 
guests, and the pleasant party was broken up by the arrival of the hour 
of departure for New York. 

On his way home Mr. Lamar passed through Atlanta, where he was 
interviewed by the afterwards celebrated journalist, Henry W. Grady, 
in the interest of the Atlanta Herald. The interview is here given in 
part, with extracts from an editorial by which it was prefaced. 

The very high character for statesmanship and patriotic devotion to the South 
which Mr. Lamar has borne through a long career of public life should give his .utter- 


ancea more than ordinary significance. There are few men in the country to whom 
the appellation of" statesman " can be more justly applied, and none to whom the much- 
abused adjective of " eloquent " more properly belongs. We regard his last speech 
in the Federal Congress, made in April, 1860, on the slavery question, the most phil- 
osophical and magnificent defense of the Southern people ever uttered, and no South- 
ern man can read it, even at this day, without a feeling of proud satisfaction. For 
our part, we are willing to have our connection with the institution of slavery go 
down to history on that speech. . . . The country is in peril, and those who 
value constitutional government must look to such men as Mr. Lamar to save our in- 
stitutions from destruction. One thing is beyond controversy : the restoration of this 
country to constitutional government can only be accomplished by arousing the pa- 
triotism of the people, and this can only be done by men who are patriots. Of such 
we think Mr. Lamar is one pure and unselfish. 

Hearing that Hon. L. Q. C. Lamar, of Mississippi, by all odds the leading Southern 
member of the House in Congress, and a man famous and beloved in all the country, 
was at the Kimball House, a representative of the Herald called on him to get his 
views on the political situation. 

We found ex-Senator H. V. M. Miller, Gen. A. H. Colquitt, Capt. E. T. Paine, and 
Col. R. A. Alston in the room, the latter of whom presented us to Mr. Lamar. 

Mr. Lamar has all the physical characteristics of his knightly and illustrious family: 
that peculiar swarthy complexion, pale but clear; the splendid gray eyes; the high 
cheek bones; the dark-brown hair; the firm and fixed mouth; the fece thoroughly 
haughty and reserved when in repose, and yet full of snap and fire and magnetism 
when in action ; all these were there. 

Added to these was that indefinable something which all great men carry about 
them, and which hangs about even small men who have been for a long time in very 
high position. It was apparent at a glance that Mr. Lamar was no ordinary Congress- 
man, and that there was nothing accidental or fortuitous in the national reputation 
which he has achieved. His record is truly a brilliant one. What Gordon is in the 
Senate, Lamar is in the House. And these two Southerners stand ahead, in the spirit 
of nobility, at least, of all their colleagues. Lamar is a finer talker than Gordon. If I 
am not mistaken, he is a better scholar than Gordon; by this I mean a man of more 
classical aptness and of broader culture. Indeed, after he consented, with a modesty 
most felicitous and a reluctance that I barely dared to disregard, to give me " an in- 
terview," I was not long in discovering that I had struck a conversational " bonanza." 
Such a wealth of happy sayings, of pregnant epigram, of wise utterances, of eloquent 
burst, of humorous touches, of political axioms, of brilliant sarcasm, of earnest states- 
maiiship, and of decorous anecdote, it has never been my fortune to look in upon 
— that is, not since Col. Tom Howard has forsworn Burgundy and tamed his splen- 
did tongue. 

The substance of the interview we shall present to our readers. Its matchless 
phrase, its subtle flavor, and the charming grace with which it fell from his lips, are 
gone; and could hardly be pinned down to paper if they were yet in my mind. 

Reporter: " You canvassed New Hampshire before the late election. What do you 
think of its result?" 

Mr. Lamar: " I see nothing in it discouraging to the Democrats — that is, I see 
nothing of the anticonservative reaction which the friends of the administration 
assert is taking place. I do not even think it implies that the Republicans can carry 
the State in a general Presidential canvass." 

Reporter: "You say that you think it popsible that New Hampshire will go to the 
Democracy in the next election. Do you think it likely that the Democrats will elect 
their next President? " 

Mr. Lamar: " I know it to be quite certain that there is an overwhelming majoritv 


against the administration in the country. I do not imagine, though, that this ma- 
jority is within the ranks of the Democratic party. It exists under diflferent names, 
as separate elements, and is controlled by distinct influences. On the one issue of 
opposition to the present administration— its centralizing tendericies, its corrupt prac- 
tices, and its incompetent rule — the majority is agreed. On other issues it is divided 
into elements more or less antagonistic. If this loose and diverse majority can be 
harmonized, if, in other words, the elements can be brought to believe that the points 
of union are more essential than the points of difference, the administration will be 
swept from power on the tide of a humiliating defeat." 

Reporter: " What do you think of the Democratic tidal wave of last year? Won't 
that be strong enough to sweep the administration from power? " 

Mr. Lamar: " Certainly, if the union of parties which produced that result can be 
kept unbroken. The victories of last fall were not strictly Democratic victories. They 
were antiadministration victories. They were not achieved by the Democratic party 
as a party, but by Democrats, Conservatives, Liberal Republicans, and antiadminis- 
tration men, fighting for the time under the Democratic flag, just as the Democrats in 
the Greeley campaign fought under the Liberal Republican flag. They were allies of 
the Democratic party, not converts to its doctrines. It is all-important for us to 
realize that it was a triumph achieved by cooperation, not by conversion. These 
allies, though friendly still to the Democratic party, and hostile to the present admin- 
istration, are not bound indissolubly, or even securely, ours. If they are content to 
fight the next battle with us, we will whip it. If they are driven offi we will lose it." 

Reporter: " Do you think that this harmony will be maintained? " 

Mr. Lamar: "I am hardly prepared to answer that question. The great Liberal 
and Conservative elements would like to see the Democrats in power, I think, pro- 
vided they would show some deference to Liberal opinions and some appreciation of 
Liberal leaders. There is a pungent apprehension through the minds of the whole 
Liberal or Conservative party, that as soon as the Democrats get into power they will 
inaugurate ' reactionary ' legislation, and will throw the Liberal leaders overboard. I 
have already heard a point made on the defeat of Schurz." 

Reporter: " Is Schurz disaffected on account of his defeat? " 

Mr. Lamar: "No; I have no idea that he is, but his friends will be. It will nat- 
urally repel them to see their ablest leaders thus thrown contemptuously aside as soon 
as the canvass is over and the victory won. They insist upon being respected as well 
as respectable. But really the strongest fear that may prevent an absolute union of all 
the antiadministration elements with the Democrats is the fear that when the Demo- 
crats get in power they will reopen the question of the amendments, attempt to undo 
the results of the war, demand pay for the Southern slaves, etc. The proper remedy 
for this is for the Democrats to plant themselves on a firm but prudent platform, and 
say to the people exactly what they propose to do. Let there be no misunderstand- 
ing about it and no chance for the Radicals to raise doubts by which they can mis- 
lead the people. ... I think we will find that all parties have enough self-abne- 
gation to lead them to lay aside all minor convictions and wish to accomplish that 
which must be accomplished if we would perpetuate the institutions of our fathers 
and save the republic." 

Reporter: "This harmony being secured, do you think the Democrats can carry 
the country?" 

Mr. Lamar: " I think they can elect Charles Francis Adams, or Judge Davis of 
the Supreme Court; either of them with a large degree of certainty. Either of these 
xnen can consolidate the whole opposition vote." 

Reporter: "Do you think a straight and pronounced Democrat can be elected?" 

Mr. Lamar: " It is possible that Thurman, Hendricks, or Bayard might be elected. 
These gentlemen have the entire confidence of the Democracy of this country. 


Either of them would develop its fullest strength. If they can carry the Liberals, there 
would be no doubt of it. This might be well done by a -proper platform. In this 
matter of the platform we have a Scylla and Charybdis to steer between. We must 
have no more O'Connor movements. On the other hand, we must not, by trotting 
out dead issues, drive off our allies. — I want you to understand (warming up as he 
said this) that I have a thorough and genuine appreciation of the Liberal Eepubli- 
cans who have rebelled against the power of party in behalf of my people. Take the 
case of old man Poland, the man who saved Arkansas. He absolutely put behind 
him a lifelong ambition when he made his protest against Grant's interference. He 
had for all his life cherished the hope that he might get a certain judgeship. Just 
before he made his report on Arkansas affairs he became aware that his ambition was 
about to be realized. He knew that if he made that antiadministration report it 
would crush his hopes forever. It was his pride and his ambition against his convic- 
tions. I shall never forget how the gray-haired old hero rose and spoke that which 
unspoken would have realized the proudest dream of his life. He was just leaving 
public life, and knew that he was destroying his last hope. Yet, with a stern and un- 
faltering hand, he buried his hope and saved a State. And then, too, remember the 
splendid way in which Blaine checked and controlled the impassioned majority that 
attempted on the last night of the session to override and crush the minority. That 
was the finest scene of intellectual energy and power that I ever saw. The man ab- 
solutely coruscated. He stood pale and yet determined through the weary and 
and eventful hours with a marvelous calmness and strength. It was like one man 
controlling a host of lunatics ; now warily fencing them oS, now meeting them eye 
to eye and dropping them with a single blow, now raising his lash and pouring it 
down over the back of some howling fellow till he had whipped him back to his ken- 
nel; and all the time honest and impartial, standing like a dauntless knight between 
the minority and the mad mob that raged and roared beyond him. I appreciate 
these men. They have done much. for us, and [without very much selfishness in his 
tone] they can do much more for us. With all the elements of opposition combined, 
we have a certain victory ; without that, I am afraid that the Democratic party is 
not strong enough to carry things." 

Reporter: '■ You seem to be very certain that victory will be the result of a combi- 
nation of all of the elements of opposition to Grant? " 

Mr. Lamar: " I am. Look at the auspices under which we go into the canvass. In 
the last canvass we had as a nominee a man whose nomination disappointed Schurz 
and the other Liberal leaders, and who excited a revolt in the Democratic camp. 
Then every department of the Federal Government was in the hands of the enemy. 
Not only this ; an overwhelming majority of the State governments were in their 
hands. Now we find the new canvass opening with a vast majority of all the officers 
directly dependent upon the elective principle under control. We have carried over 
two-thirds of the States, and in a decided majority of them have control of both the 
executive and legislative departments. The revolution has gone further: we have 
a large majority in the only branch of the Federal Government that is directly re- 
spondent to the elective principle. The House of Representatives, the only cTiannel 
through which the popular life of this country is poured into the Federal Govern- 
ment, is Democratic, and is completely in our hands. Now, if nothing is done to dis- 
turb the alliance under which these victories were won, they can be repeated, and 
repeated with an emphasis that will startle the most sanguine. With the matter 
otherwise, it is impossible to predict the result." 

Reporter: " Do you think that Grant will try a third term? " 

Mr. Lamar: " I do. I think that he is now a candidate for renomination. An im- 
mense efibrt will be made to defeat him in the nominating convention, but this I 


have no idea can be done. We may count pretty certainly on having Grant to run 
against in the Centennial canvass." 

We feel it proper to say, after this hurried interview has been put to paper, that it 
does nothing more than merely express the substance of the brilliant talk that fell 
carelessly and yet superbly from his lips. 

Mr. Lamar returns to Mississippi to enter the Congressional canvass. There is 
surely no doubt but that his district will return him without opposition. He is des- 
tined to fill a very large place in American history. 

On the 1st of April Mr. Grady wrote to Col. Lamar: 

. . . The interview was with one voice approved — i. e., the views expressed in the 
talk. It has been copied in all the leading papers of the country. . . . My opinion 
is that it has done you much good. I am certain it has done the Democratic party 

On the Ist of March, just before leaving Washington for New 
Hampshire, Mr. Lamar wrote to his wife: 

I have given no vote that was not as pure as truth and as unselfish as love of coun- 
try could make it. I have gained in influence and reputation; but it is all vanity, 
vanity. Would that I could live in peace and obscurity the rest of my life with 
my dear wife and my children. 


The Question of Eeelection— Rescue of the State from Radicalism— Mississippi and 
Louisiana— Gov. Ames' Administration — The Taxpayers' Convention of 1875 — The 
Vicksburg Riot— Congressional Investigation — Ames' Message — Address of the 
Legislators — Invidious Police Laws — The Color Line— Lamar's Growing Fame — 
Renominated — Reorganization of the Democratic Party of the State — County Mass 
Meetings — Speech at Falkner's Station — The Color Line Again — The State Demo- 
cratic Convention of 1875 — Lamar's Speech — Democratic Platform — The Press on 
Lamar's Renomination and Speech — Address of the State Democratic Executive 
Committee — Campaign of 1875^George's Letter on the Black Code — Riots at Clin- 
ton and Yazoo City — Gov. Ames Calls for Federal Troops — Democrats Triumph and 
the State is Rescued — Impeachment of Ames, Davis, and Cardozo. 

WHEN Mr. Lamar returned home in March, 1875, after the ad- 
journment of the Forty-third Congress, there were two great 
things for him to do. One was to secure his renomination to Congress; 
the other was to assist his State in ridding herself of the Eadical domi- 
nation. , 

His own renomination was not desired by him because of any impulse 
of selfishness. The discouragements, the labors, and the responsibili- 
ties of public life at "Washington for a Southern man at that time, were 
so many and heavy that he was heartily disgusted with it all. He was 
tired of it, and longed for the retirement, the ease, and the felicity of 
his own home and family; but his return to Congress had risen into the 
dignity of a national question. By his speeches and course — notably 
by the Sumner eulogy and the Louisiana speech — he had placed in pawn 
the sentiment and principles of the Southern people. Widespread and 
enthusiastic as had been the plaudits which he had personally received 
and the approval which had been expressed of his utterances, there still 
was a dissent in the South, and a question in the North as to how far he 
represented the real feeling of the South. Had he retired from public 
life, this query in the Northern mind would have remained unanswered, 
and his olive branch would have withered. Had he been defeated, the 
pledge he had made would have been understood to be recalled; and 
the South would have been regarded as declaring anew for hostility. 
Mr. Lamar's whole course in the Forty-third Congress was concentrated 
on one thought: reunion and reconciliation. By that thought, then, 
was he to stand or fall ; and that thought, it was now imperatively de- 
manded,, should be brought to the final and only indubitable test: the 
ballot box. 

As to the other object, the rescue of the State: In the domestic his- 
tory of Mississippi the year 1875 is the supplement of 1861. It is the 
year of redemption, the year in which a great political revolution re- 



claimed the prize of State sovereignty which had practically been lost, 
and in which the shackles of bondage were thrown off. To this great 
work all of the leading men of the State earnestly addressed themselves. 
Mr. Lamar in this field was only one of a host, but he devoted to it all 
of his ability and all of his energies. 

To understand fully the status of affairs in Mississippi at this junc- 
ture, it is necessary to hold in mind three principal matters: the recent 
occurrences in the State of Louisiana; the recent administration of Gov. 
Ames in Mississippi, and the rise and development of the color line. 

The ties which bind Mississippi to Louisiana are much closer than 
those which ordinarily arise between States because of mere juxtaposi- 
tion. The city of New Orleans, which is the metropolis of the latter, is 
no less the commercial emporium of the former. Thither leads the 
great Father of Waters, which forms the western boundary of Missis- 
sippi; and the great system of railroads (now merged into the Illinois 
Central) which bisects Mississippi from end to end finds there its south- 
ern terminus. The subtle and close sympathies engendered by a daily, 
extensive, and mutual trade, are reenforced by the pervasive power of 
the press; for the daily papers of New Orleans furnish the current 
news to, and contribute to the political thought of, nearly all Mississippi. 
The social attractions also of that seductive city, where frost is barely 
known (the march gras, the French opera, and similar winter gayeties), 
yearly draw throngs of pleasure seekers to the delights of almost a for- 
eign tour. Added to these links are the fascination of a romantic histo- 
ry and the piquancy of a cosmopolitan life which render Louisiana 
unique amongst the States, and which, for the reasons just given, appeal 
with special power to Mississippians. Twenty years ago these consid- 
erations were of even greater force than they are now; for since that 
time the active competition of the growing city of Memphis, the im- 
provement in general railway service, and the practice of Northern and 
foreign spinners of buying their cotton in the interior towns — have all 
tended to reduce somewhat in Mississippi the strength of the Crescent 
City. So that then, more than now, from those causes the daily histo- 
ry of Louisiana met quick and full recognition in Mississippi, and the 
agitations of her pulse found a prompt and sympathetic response. The 
usurpations of the Kellogg faction, the purging of the Legislature by 
DeTrobriand, the dispatches of Sheridan, were regarded with the 
strongest indignation; and the action of the Federal administration in 
upholding such conduct was contemplated with the greatest uneasiness 
and foreboding. 

The course of Gov. Ames' administration of Mississippi affairs, and 
that of the Radical party, of which he was the chief, were such as to con- 
vert that uneasiness into positive alarm. 


Gov. Ames, it will be remembered, as the nominee of the Eadical 
party had, in 1873, defeated ex-Gov. Alcorn, the common candidate of 
the Liberal Kepublicans, the Conservatives, and the Democrats. He 
was installed in January, 1874. His administration was but little im- 
provement on his career as Military Governor. Ignorant and corrupt 
officials were set up over the people, and were supported in their mal- 
administrations and oppressions. The people were constantly threat- 
ened with military forces. State and Federal. Their burdens grew 
daily. Those burdens were imposed and progressively increased, not 
only with a reckless disregard of seemliness and right, but also with 
contempt and insult. 

On the 4th of January, 1875, a Taxpayers' Convention met in the city 
of Jackson for the purpose of considering the financial situation and of 
devising some way to lessen taxation. The convention was called, and 
was organized, without respect of party or color. Some of the most 
prominent Eepublicans in the State participated iu it — for instance, 
Henry Musgrove, the former Auditor of Public Accounts, and J. L. 
Morphis, ex-Congressman and, later. United States Marshal, besides 
others. This body adopted an address to the Legislature in which 
many suggestions were made in respect to a more economical manage- 
ment of the State government, as well as of county affairs, from which 
the following remarks are extracted: 

Every day the people have grown poorer, lands have diminished in value, wages 
have grown less, and all industries have become more and more paralyzed. It is daily 
harder and harder for the people even to live, and many hearts are saddened to-day, 
burdened with the dread lest the little home, only shelter for the wife and children, 
shall be sold away by the taxgatherer 

To show the extraordinary and rapid increase of taxation imposed on this impov- 
erished people we will cite these particulars — viz. : 

In 1869 the State levy was ten cents on the hundred dollars of assessed value of lands. 

For the year 1871 it was four times as great; for 1872 it was eighi and a half 
times as great; for the year 1873 it was twelve and a half times as great; for the year 
1874 it was fourteen times as great as it was in 1869. The tax levy of 1874 was the 
largest State tax ever levied in Mississippi, and to-day the people are poorer than ever 

Thus as the people become poorer are their tax burdens increased. 

In many cases the increase in the county levies in the same period has been still 

But this is not all. A careful estimate shows that during those years of increasing 
and most extravagant tax levies the public debt was increased, on an average, annually, 
over 1664,000 ; a sum of itself sufficient to defray the entire expenses of the government 
economically administered. 

To this "appeal" the Legislature paid no attention whatever. Gov. 
Ames, in that same month, in his testimony before the Congressional 
Committee on the Vicksburg matter, spoke in a most contemptuous 
manner " of those who are howling about the taxes." * 

* See on this general subject Appendix, No. 10 


In no portion of the State were the distress and the grievance thus 
clearly depicted more deeply felt than in the county of Warren, espe- 
cially in the city of Vicksburg. Eather, perhaps, in no other part of 
the State were all of the evils attendant upon the "carpetbag" domi- 
nation so fully and brazenly illustrated. There, the negroes, profiting 
by the years of drill which they had received from their white mana- 
gers in political looting, party management, and ring organization, had 
revolted from those managers and assumed the whole official regalia, 
from diadem to sandals. In 1874, the sheriff, the Circuit Clerk, the 
Chancery Clerk (who was also clerk of the county supervisors), and 
four of the five supervisors, were negroes. The debts of the county and 
city, which in 1869 were but little over $13,000, had been run up until 
that of the city alone, the total population of which was only eleven 
thousand, more than half being negroes, had reached $1,400,000. 

In the month of December, 1874, the State and county taxes, amount- 
ing to five per cent on the value of property, were about to fall due. 
The sheriff was ex officio tax collector. He was to collect about $160,- 
000. His bonds, as sheriff and as collector, were without date, with no 
penalty set forth, and in the opinion of some lawyers void for patent de- 
fects. The sureties were all colored men except one, a married woman 
whose signature did not bind her. They were resident in different 
counties in the State, and in nearly every case were either insolvent or 
possessed of very little property. Many of them had justified in sums 
ranging from fifty dollars up to a thousand. Many of their signatures 
were by marks, without witnesses, and others were signed in such man- 
ner as to make it next to an impossibility to decipher the names. The 
district attorney, a Republican, had advised the Board of Supervisors 
whose duty it was to look after the bonds of county officers, that they 
were insufficient, and the taxpayers had urged the board to require 
new bonds. That body, however, were under the sheriff's influence, 
and they would do nothing; would not even meet to consider the mat- 
ter. Crosby, the sheriff, published a card in the Times stating that he 
would not further attempt to give bonds, and would hold his office until 
ousted by a judgment of the Supreme Court. The law of the State was 
that if a county officer should fail to give his official bond, or, having 
given one, if the supervisors should order him to execute another be- 
cause of insolvency of sureties, and he should fail to do so, his office 
thereby became vacated. 

In the month of August the Auditor of Public Accounts, the State 
official, a Republican, had discovered that a large number of fraudulent 
and forged witness certificates had been issued from the office of the 
Circuit Clerk, and criminal proceedings were instituted against the 
Clerk, one A. W. Dorsey, and against his predecessor in office, one T. 
W. Oardozo, then State Superintendent of Public Education, both 


negroes. The Chancery Clerk, one Davenport, a negro, was custodian 
of the county records appertaining to the finances; and he kept the 
county seal, and issued county warrants. It was discovered that large 
numbers of fraudulent county warrants were in circulation, and that 
Davenport's official bond was missing from his office. He was called 
on to make a report to the Board of Supervisors, the county's fiscal 
body, of the warrants outstanding, and persistently and contemptuously 
refused to do so. He refused to let the taxpayers' committee examine 
the warrant books, which was the unqestionable privilege of any citi- 
zen. At the November term of the Circuit Court the grand jury, com- 
posed of ten blacks and seven whites, working under the direction of a 
Eepublican district attorney, found several indictments each against 
Dorsey, Cardozo, and Davenport. The district attorney testified after- 
wards that they could just as well have found five hundred, in his opin- 
ion. A short time before these indictments were found the Treasurer's 
books and other important records, which had been by the only white 
member of the board taken from the office of Davenport and locked up 
in another room, were stolen by a burglary committed from inside the 
courthouse. Other records remaining in Davenport's office were used 
by the grand jury. After the indictments were presented a committee 
of citizens requested Crosby, who was custodian of the courthouse, to 
gather up all the keys in order to prevent access without his knowl- 
edge. This he promised to do immediately; but that night four or five 
persons were seen to enter by the use of keys, and the next morning it 
appeared that the remaining records above mentioned had been ab- 
stracted. They were afterwards found buried under Davenport's resi- 

It was universally known that all these colored officials composed a 
" ring," and were playing into each others' hands. The county seemed 
to be in their grasp. 

Under these circumstances, all confidence in the integrity and compe- 
tency of the officers being destroyed, a taxpayers' meeting, held without 
distinction of party or color, and in which Republicans participated, 
sent a committee to Crosby, Davenport, and the Coroner on the 2d of 
of December to request their resignations. They found only Crosby 
and Davenport, who promised toanswer in half an hour. They did not 
do so, and the meeting, being composed of some three hundred personSj 
proceeded to the courthouse in a body and there repeated the demand. 
There was no offer of violence or exhibition of weapons, although 
doubtless some of the party carried pistols. Davenport had disap- 
peared, but Crosby then delivered his resignation. The party then de- 
tailed one Capt. Beaird, a Republican and a " gallant ex-Union soldier," 
to take temporary charge of the office and public records, for their pres- 


Crosby went to Jackson to see Gov. Ames. He was advised that 
his resignation was not binding, being under duress. The Governor 
advised or directed him to return to Vicksburg and demand pos- 
session of the office, and if refused to call out the power of the county, 
or posse comitatus; and if the posse refused to act, then to call out the 
militia. It was suggested that this might cause bloodshed, to which 
the Governor is said to have replied: "What if it does cost blood? The 
blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church." He further addressed 
himself to the colored men present, telling them that he and other white 
men had faced the bullets to free them, and now, if they were not will- 
ing to maintain that freedom, they were unworthy of it. 

Crosby returned to Vicksburg on Friday, and was followed thither on 
Saturday by CoL Lee, aide-de-camp to the Governor, and A. G. Packer, 
Adjutant General, who were charged to look over the situation, and if 
necessary call out the militia. 

On Saturday, the 5th, Gov. Ames also issued a proclamation to the 
effect that riotous and disorderly persons had conspired together with 
force and arms to deprive colored men of their civil and political 
rights because of their color, and warning them to disperse, etc. At 
the same time Crosby circulated upon the streets, and through the 
county generally, a handbill which had been written by a colored clerk 
in the office of the Secretary of State at Jackson, and printed by the 
Pilot, the official Radical organ, in which, appealing to " Kepublicans, 
black and white," he denounced those who had demanded his resignation 
as "an armed mob of the most bitter and relentless of our enemies," 
as "determined and heartless political banditti," as mendacious and 
"heartless barbarians;" declared that he was made to resign because 
he was a Republican and tried to do equal justice to all, that his resig- 
nation was void because made under duress; and, announcing his deter- 
mination to hold the office, called for the support of his friends, saying: 
"We have joined issue, now let us fight the cause on its merits, by any 
and all means known to the constitution and laws of our State." On 
Sunday Cardozo, the Superintendent of Public Education, wrote him 
not to " make any compromise with those fellows. The Governor is at 
your back." 

The Circuit Court was in session while these things were occurring. 
It had adjourned over until Monday morning. The sheriff was required 
to attend that court, and perform certain important functions in connec- 
tion with it. The question of Crosby's incumbency would therefore be 
raised at once, and in a very striking way. 

During Saturday night and Sunday he had fifteen colored riders go- 
ing over the county with his handbill and further messages. These bills 
were read, and the messages were delivered, amongst other ways, in the 
manner common in their political movements to the negroes, from the 


pulpits in their churches by their preachers. The negro men were told 
to repair to Vicksburg on Monday morning, with their guns, and to be 
there by ten o'clock, which was the hour for the court to convene. 
The news' of these messages, "surreptitiously sent out," transpired on 
Sunday afternoon; and Gen. Packer tried to stop them, and to stop 
the negroes on their way to the city, but unavailingly. On Monday 
morning, between eight and nine o'clock, the alarm was sounded, and 
it was bruited about that some fourteen hundred armed negroes were 
marching upon the town on three different roads. There was a great 
hurrying to and fro, and arming for defense of the city. There was 
also great alarm. A rising of the town negroes, who were more than 
half the population, and were thoroughly under Crosby's influence, was 
feared. Amongst them was a militia company, organized and drilled, 
armed with Springfield rifles, the negro captain of which had been or- 
dered by the Governor, on Friday, to cooperate with Crosby, together 
with the company, in his efforts to regain possession of his office, and 
to " disperse the riotous mob." The streets were filled with terrified 
and weeping women and children. Men in small squads hurried into 
the outskirts. The incoming forces were met in three different direc- 
tions, armed with pistols and guns, some marching in military array, 
others disorderly — about seven hundred in all. The Vicksburg people 
claimed that the negroes fired upon them so soon as they met, and fired 
upon white flags. There is no reasonable doubt that such was the case, 
but the negroes claimed otherwise. However that may be,' a conflict 
(or, rather, several conflicts) ensued, in which one white man and about 
fifteen blacks were killed, besides others wounded. The whites were 
better armed, and claimed that they could have killed many more of the 
invaders, but desired to repel them with as little slaughter as possible. 
Thirty blacks were taken prisoners, all of whom were shortly afterwards 
allowed to go free. * 

In this conflict Republicans and Democrats alike took part in defense 
of the city. Amongst the former wag Mr. Furlong, a brigadier general 
of militia, State Senator, and for four years a Union soldier. He aft- 
erwards testified before the Congressional Committee that "every ex- 
soldier of the Federal army in Vicksburg was out in arm's, the same as 
the other citizens, that day. ... I reckon about one hundred. All 
of them joined, and I think took an even more conspicuous part than 
the ex-Confederates." Gen. Packer, in his testimony, on cross-exami- 
nation, said that under the circumstances he did not know but that the 
citizens were justified in doing what they did; that if the negroes had 
succeeded in getting into the city he believed that the loss of life 
would have been even greater than it was, and that in his judgment it 
was a matter of mercy to the women and children of the town that they 
were prevented from entering. 


With the repulse of the invaders hostilities ceased. For two or three 
days afterwards isolated cases of violence occurred, including a few kill- 
ings, in which each party charged the other with being the aggressor. 
In three days, however, quiet was restored and business resumed. 
Crosby, whom the citizens had confined, was released without injury. 

On the 11th of December Mr. Lamar wrote to Judge Wiley P. Har- 
ris, of Jackson, inquiring into this matter, and especially " whether the 
taxpayers had any available legal redress against the injury threatened 
in the collection of the enormous levies which had been made, and the 
appropriation of them afterwards by what is called 'the coiirtbouse 
ring.' " To this inquiry Judge Harris replied, under date of December 
16, as follows: 

I see no remedy that the taxpayers had when the officers and tribunals appointed 
by law to give relief utterly failed to act, and in fact were in complicity with the sher- 
iff. There was one remedy — not a legal, but a moral one — which would have been 
sufficient. If Gov. Ames had expressed his disapprobation of the conduct of th e board 
in refusing to meet, or had stated to the sheriff that it was his duty to give a good 
bond or resign, his behests would have been attended to. 

The truth is (I speak from sad experience) that under our government, as it now 
exists, there is no remedy for the peculations of public officers. We are fleeced and 
robbed on all sides, and we are powerless to prevent it, either by law or the force of 
public opinion. In fact, there is in the State no such thing as a public opinion which 
can be made effective in preventing abuses in government. The rule is that officials 
are either corrupt or incompetent. Qualifications for the office and personal integrity 
are not considered by the majority in making selections. You can't operate a govern- 
ment honestly where the majority of the voters care nothing for the morals of the of- 
ficials. It does not affect the standing of an officer with the majority to convict him 
of having abused the powers of his office to his private gain. In fact I believe that it 
is true that the majority think that the offices are created for the private advantage 
of the occupants; and hence the enormous fees, salaries, and perquisites allowed by 
law, and taken without law, create no dissatisfaction among the majority of the voters, 
who, paying no taxes themselves, care nothing for burdens imposed on others. 

In short, whilst I have labored to come to an opposite conclusion, I am satisfied 
that the experiment of trying to make self-governing people out of the negroes will 
fail — in fact, has already failed. Let any Northern man who thinks the negro is capa- 
ble of self-government imagine the condition of Mississippi, or any other State, at the 
end of twelve months from the day when the last white man has left it, and there re- 
mains no obstacle to the full development and free exercise of African statesmanship. 

The Northern people have imposed on us an impossible task. We are expected 
and required to have a stable and honest and orderly government, when we are prac- 
tically without any voice save the voice of the minority — regarded by the majority as 
the thing above all others to be disregarded. 

I regret that our Vicksburg friends resorted to anything that even looked like force. 
I know that their action will be misconstrued, and it will be made the occasion of 
giving another turn to the screw. But when I look at the condition of affairs here — 
the constant and daily sources of irritation, the rapid decline in all values, the almost 
hopeless task of getting subsistence even, after the demands of the taxgatherer have 
been satisfied — I am astonished at the moderation of our people. I feel sure that if it 
were not for the gleam of hope offered by the elections this last fall there would be 
hardly life enough left among our people to plant another crop ; that there would be 


wholesale emigration, embracing all who could get away ; and that those who were 
compelled to remain would sit down in utter despair, with energies wholly benumbed 
and paralyzed. 

Judge Harris' apprehensions proved to be we]l founded. Not only 
was the Vicksburg affair misconstrued, but it was also misrepresented 
and distorted. An investigating committee was sent down from Con- 
gress. This was not unacceptable to the people of the State. "We 
are glad," said the Clarion of December 17, " that the investigation has 
been ordered. Let the facts go to the country." Mr. Lamar not only 
did not oppose it, but he even urged it. Said he : " The citizens of 
Vicksburg do not shrink from that investigation; they court it, and are 
only anxious that all the facts connected with that transaction, as well 
as the causes which produced it, shall be fully exposed to the country." * 
The committee, however, consisted of Messrs. Conger of Michigan, 
Hurlbut of Illinois, and Williams of Wisconsin, Republicans; with 
Speer of Pennsylvania, and O'Brien of Maryland, Democrats. On the 
28th of February they presented a divided report, which, with the testi- 
mony accompanying, made a volume of five hundred and sixty pages, 
and of which the New York Tribune said: 

The Mississippi investigation, like that in Alabama, has brought forth two reports, 
each strongly colored with the political opinions of its signers. Indeed, that of the 
majority [the Republicans] has so strong a partisan tincture that it will have no weight 
whatever with any one outside of the administration party. Some of its statements 
seem entirely without foundation in the testimony given to the press from day to day 
during the progress of the investigation. 

Meanwhile Gov. Ames had called a special session of the Legislature, 
which convened on the 17th of December. To that body he addressed 
a message of the most intensely partisan character. He stated the po- 
sition and conduct of the Vicksburg people most unfairly. He de- 
nounced them as insurgents who had organized a military despotism, 
recognizing no law but what suited their humor, while the legal reme- 
dies for the wrongs complained of by them were ample; and who pre- 
tended to act in the interest of the taxpayers, while the State (in which 
about one-fifth of all the lands had lapsed for unpaid taxes) was in a 
"fortunate financial condition." He said that " the insurrection has its 
supporters and sympathizers in other parts of the State. They have 
deliberately and knowingly entered upon this revolution, with a purpose 
coextensive with the limits of the State. It is insurrection in its fullest 
sense." He said, £urther, that he had not the police or the money at his 
command to meet the emergency, and recommended that the Legisla- 
ture take such steps as should be necessary to " overthrow the insurrec- 
tion in Warren County, and prevent in future similar occurrences there 
and elsewhere." 

*" Congressional Record," Vol. in., Part I., p. 77. 


The current opinion of this message, outside of the special following 
of the Governor, may be conjectured from the nature of an open letter, 
published on the following day by Joshua S. Morris, for four years the 
Attorney-general of the State. It referred to certain statements made 
by the Governor about the condition of the militia organizations in 
Warren County; and, after contradicting them by showing that he had 
issued orders to companies there, concluded: "Either the orders were 
officially false, or the message is officially false. In either case the 
Governor is an official liar; and in either case, as a veteran Republi- 
can, I feel that I am sold." 

It was noticed as a most singular thing that, while the Governor de- 
nounced in unmeasured terms the action of the taxpayers, he had not 
one word of condemnation for the delinquent and criminal officers. 

The Legislature adopted a joint resolution, in like temper with the 
Governor's message, after many extraordinarily inflammatory speeches 
by the negro leaders of that body, calling upon the President to use 
the army of the United States in suppressing domestic violence and re- 
storing peace and order. 

Thereupon forty-six members of that body published an appeal to 
the people of the United States, from which, because of its length, only 
an extract is made: 

. . . The action of a majority of the Legislature and of the Governor, before re- 
ferred to, place us, and, as we believe, designedly so, in a false position, and is an at- 
tempt to blacken the name and faivie of the people of the State. It is even more than 
this : being a deliberate effort to introduce into this State martial law and the army 
of the Union for the purpose of continuing in power the present corrupt government, 
by stimulating into unnatural activity the prejudice of race against race, which hap- 
pily had begun to subside. 

This actidn of the Executive and of a majority of the Legislature is based on no 
evidence whatever. The undersigned are members of that body, and in vain pro- 
tested against this action and demanded an investigation into the truth of the crimes 
alleged against our people, before they were turned over to the tender mercies of the 
martial law. This was refused, though there was not a single armed man in the ac- 
tual or threatened resistance of the State authority. The opportunity of fair debate 
and remonstrance and investigation was denied by the operation of the previous 
question • nor was this action the result of the deliberations of the representatives of 
the people. 

Both the preamble and the resolutions passed by the majority were concocted as a 
party measure in a secret caucus of the majority, were then put through the Legisla- 
ture under the pressure of party discipline and for party ends, without the examina- 
tion of a single witness and against the evidence furnished by the written statement 
of peaceful and law-abiding citizens of both political parties and of the highest char- 
acter and standing, who were eyewitnesses of the transaction about which they 

Under these calamities — with a hostile Executive and Legislature, who seem to be 
willing at any time to sacrifice the public interest to personal and partisan advantages 
— we feel that we are authorized to appeal to our fellow-citizens of all sections of the 
Union not to credit these calumnies, and to ask them to investigate for themselves. 


The people of Mississippi are utterly powerless to defend themselves against their 
constituted rulers, unless we shall have the sympathy and good will, not of any par- 
ticular party, but of our fellow-citizens throughout the Union. We are too much con- 
cerned here to save ourselves from local misgovernment and oppression, to participate 
in any partisan contests which agitate other parts of the Union. 

We do not deny that there are occasional disorders in our midst, but we solemnly 
aver that in no part of the world and in no age have there been so few under oppres- 
sions so severe and under circumstances of injustice, wrong, and insult so irritating 
and trying. 

The Legislature adjourned after a session of eight days; but it met 
again in regular session tv^elve days later, on January 5, 1875. On the 
day before, Gov. Ames, although there were no disturbances in Missis- 
sippi, and the Congressional Committee was quietly at work taking tes- 
timony in. Vicksburg, had telegraphed to the President for troops to 
maintain law and order. On the 5th, it will be remembered, while the 
Mississippi Legislature was meeting, Gen. DeTrobriand was purging 
that of Louisiana. Gov. Ames' annual message reiterated the recom- 
mendations made to the special session the month before, asserting 
that "the freedom of a race is at stake." That night Gen. Sheridan 
wired the Governor that he had taken command of the Department of 
the Gulf and would send a company of soldiers to Vicksburg. At the 
same time he sent out his famous banditti dispatches, in which reference 
was made to the Vicksburg affair. It was inevitable that these things 
should attract much attention and excite much apprehension of evil to 
come. Especially so, when immediately afterwards an effort was made to 
retire Col. Lamar from Congress by transferring his county of Lafayette 
to a different district, in which there was a black majority; when resolu- 
tions were passed through both Houses, under the previous question, 
indorsing Gen. Sheridan's course and expressing belief that if his pol- 
icy were carried out peace, security, and the enjoyment of the constitu- 
tional privileges would follow; when an effort was made to provide for 
the organization in Warren County of a metropolitan police of the most 
extraordinary and extensive powers, under the. direction of a commis- 
sion to be appointed by the Governor — in effect a little standing army 
to be composed of blacks; and when the bill was passed, now to be set 
forth in substance. 

The State Code contained a chapter on the subject of a State militia, 
by which it was provided that all the able-bodied citizens within cer- 
tain ages should be enrolled; and under it many companies had been 
organized. These companies were of both races, and were respectively 
officered by persons of their own color; and some of them were com- 
posed of persons of the Democratic faith. The Act of February 25 dis- 
banded all existing militia organizations, revoked the commissions of 
the ofiBcers, required all arms to be returned to the quartermaster gen- 
eral, and made the failure to return any of them criminal. This placed 


the whole subject of the reorganization of the militia absolutely in the 
hands of the Governor by necessary consequence. It enabled him to 
place the new commissions just where he pleased. Not only so; the act 
further provided that he should have power to organize and arm an in- 
fantry force of not less than two regiments (no maximum), and to pur- 
chase four or more Gatling guns for their use. Thus he was given 
power to establish a standing army in time of peace; and other provi- 
sions enabled him to send it anywhere in the State, and with it to antici- 
pate riots, etc. In short, the Governor, so far as the Legislature could 
do it, was made independent of aid from the United States army by 
giving him one of his own. 

The enactment of this law was viewed with great disgust and indig- 
nation. It was regarded as a step taken in the precipitation of a con- 
flict between the races for political purposes. It was commonly said 
that Ames' hope for a standing army was in the colored people; that he 
would not accept a white company if it were offered; that his course in 
calling upon a negro company in prefei-enc.e to a white company in the 
Vicksburg matter, and his subsequent testimony before the Congres- 
sional Committee on that point, showed such to be the case. Also it 
was said that the law placed unlimited power in his hands for mischief; 
and that the law should have been entitled "An Act to Kob and Murder 
the White People of Mississippi," for that was what it meant. 

The foregoing brief sketch must suffice to convey an idea of the con- 
dition of affairs between the State's administration and its white people. 
Even to many of the white Republicans the status had become intoler- 
able, and their disaffection in State matters had caused Gov. Ames to 
cease to "regard them with respect." Well might Judge Harris say, 
as he did in the speech of 1875 already quoted from, that " It is a dreary 
life we lead here, with a national government ever suspicious and ever 
frowning, imperious, and hostile, and a home government feeble, fur- 
tive, false, and fraudulent." 

But there was a hope. The partial paralysis of the Radical party 
coming from the loss of the House of Representatives in the elections 
of 1874 gave an opportunity for escape from this thraldom worse than 
death. Before giving account of tliat escape, however, it remains to no- 
tice the question of the color line. 

In the previous chapters and in various connections it has been shown 
how the action of those who represented the Federal administration 
since the surrender of the Confederate armies had tended to solidify 
the negroes in political opposition to the whites, and had caused them 
as a whole to conceive distrust as to the intention of the whites in re- 
spect to their liberties and privileges. It is not designed to present a 
statement at all full of the development and extent of this sentiment 


among the blacks, or of the instrumentalities by which in this particu- 
lar the relations otherwise kindly and generous between the races were 
strained and embittered. Let it suffice to say that as the years passed 
by the evil of political segregation grew more and more apparent and 
fixed, and that such evil was increased by various agencies, some of 
which the white people very deeply resented. For not only were the 
ordinary and legitimate appliances of political influence wielded, but 
also the schools and the Churches were converted into political propa- 
ganda for the Badicals, and the buildings set apart for those sacred pur- 
poses were employed as clubhouses in which secret meetings were held, 
often at midnight, where Loyal Leagues were organized and drilled and 
the most incendiary doctrines promulgated. Not only were the facts 
about the relations between the two races (the previous enslavement, 
the liberation by Northern arms, and all of the considerations which 
naturally and logically clustered around those facts) constantly pre- 
sented to the blacks and urged upon them in all sorts of connections; 
but also the wildest, most flagrant, and willful misstatements of the mo- 
tives, the intentions, and the powers of the Southern whites were con- 
stantly indulged in. So also the lessons inculcated and the objects set 
before them for their attainment were not by any means limited to the 
proper and honorable ones of freedom and equality before the law, but 
were often grossly wrong and aggressive. 

Let one illustrative passage be given from the observation and pen 
of a Republican correspondent of the New York Herald, Mr. Charles 
Nordhoff. He made a tour through the Southern States in the interest 
of that journal, and writes under date of May 21 from Montgomery, Ala. : 

The division of political parties on the race or color line has been a great calamity 
to the Southern States. . . . But it is the Federal interference under the Enforce- 
ment Acts, and that alone, which enables unscrupulous politicians to mass the negro 
vote upon one side and to use it for their own aggrandizement. . . . Gov. Ames 
in Mississippi refuses to stir to prevent a riot at Vicksburg till after the riot, after 
forty or fifty blacks have been killed; and when the negroes are demoralized and feel 
utterly helpless sends for Federal troops, which come at his command and reassure 
the blacks. Such manifestations of power strike the imaginations of the negroes, as 
they would an ignorant population, and they follow very readily "and blindly its pos- 
sessor. Some colored witnesses in Alabama, being asked why they all voted against 
Sheats for Congress, replied: "Because Perrin told them to." Being asked if they 
would have voted the Democratic ticket if Perrin had told them to, they answered 
unhesitatingly: "Yes." 

But the leaders whom they thus follow do not instruct them in political duties. 
They do not discuss political questions before them. They appeal only and continu- 
ally to the negroes' fears and to their sense of obligation to the Federal power. In Al- 
abama they were told that the bacon* was sent by Gen. Grant, and its receipt made 
it their duty to vote for the " straight Republican ticket." In some parts of Southern 

* Sent by the TTnited States in relief ol an overflowed district, but largely used by the Radical of- 
ficers for campai{^n purposes; and to some extent, at least, given to negroes many miles away from 
the submerged country. — Congressional Record, Vol. 3, Parts, p. 1,835. 



Louisiana the negroes are still summoned from the field to political meetings " by or- 
der of Gen. Butler." I know of a case where a candidate for a county office circulated 
a printed " general order " commanding all colored men to vote for him, and signed, 
" TJ. S. Grant, President " ; and he received the solid colored vote. One of the most 
intelligent and excellent men I met in Louisiana told me that in 1872 he had made 
a thorough canvass of the part of the State in which he lives, addressing himself en- 
tirely to the colored people, by whom he is liked and trusted, and trying to explain 
to them the necessity for good government and their interest in the matter. " But," 
said he, "I presently became aware that I was followed by a Republican, an illiterate 
and low-lived man whom no colored man would have trusted with five dollars, but 
who overturned all my arguments by whispering: 'Don't believe what he tells you; 
they only want to put you back into slavery.' So pertinaciously has this base insinu- 
ation been used among the blacks that when last fall the Democrats carried Alabama 
I knosv of two instances in which colored men came into the nearest town to ask 
white Democrats, in whose honor and kindness they trusted, whether they would be 
allowed to choose their own masters, and whether they would be separated from 
their wives and children."* 

On this general subject the Chicago Tribune'^ said: 

We have heretofore urged the necessity and wisdom of abolishing the color line in 
Southern politics, and have pointed out how much better it would be for the negroes 
of the Southern States to abandon their race organizations and assimilate themselves 
with the white people who compose the political parties. Divided as members of the 
Democratic and Republican parties, the colored people would have the support and 
protection of both parties, while so long as they remain united as a race they will be 
but a fraction within one party and perpetuate an antagonizing of races in which they 
will be always defeated. So long as the colored people insist on being a solid body in 
political matters, so long will they force the white race into the opposing party, thus 
giving the Democratic party an ascendency in these States which it would not have 
under other circumstances. . . . When the negro race at the South divide their 
suffrage between the Democratic and Republican parties, all the present hatred, prej- 
udice, and bitterness against them will give way; and the negro voters will become 
identified with and merged in the general population of the South, sharing its prosper- 
ity and advancing in intelligence, power, and influence under the better feeling and 
unity of the whole. 

The ill feeling, however, to vrhich the Tribune alluded was not uni- 
Yersally entertained in the South toward the negroes, even on account 
of their political action. There was general impatience with the situa- 
tion, and much indignation about it; but great allowance was made to 
the masses of the blacks because of their ignorance and credulity. The 
more thoughtful and reasonable portion of the Southern people, which 
in this matter was also the more numerous and influential, could well 
see that after the opposition which the mass of the whites had exhibited 
in 1867 and 1868 to enfranchising the blacks, the latter had some cause 
to distrust their leadership, especially in view of the precedent legisla- 
tion in 1865, when neither race was prepared for the extraordinary 
changes which had been accomplished by the war. They could also 

*The same pathetic anrt shocking question, as to the masters at least, was not uncommon in Mis- 
.sissippi after the eleclion of Mr. Cleveland in 1884. — E. M. 
+As quoted in the Clari n of April 21, 1876. 


well understand why, after having fallen under the malign influences of 
self-seeking adventurers, the negroes had been prone to yield obedience 
to them in subsequent contests of a purely partisan and political charac- 
ter, but in which the question of race privileges had not really entered. 
Mr. Nordhoff diagnosed the Southern general temper correctly when he 
said in his letter of June 22 that " it is an evidence of the good nature 
of the mass of the whites that in the main they conduct themselves toward 
the blacks kindly and justly. They concentrate their dislike upon the 
men who have misled and now misuse the black vote, and this I cannot 
call unjust. It is commonly said: ' The negroes are not to blame; they 
do not know any better. ' " 

It was this unreasoning and invincible opposition of the negro vote, 
almost as a unit, which led to the development about the year 1874 of 
the counter movement on the part of a portion of the whites, which be- 
came known in the parlance of the time as the "color line." The senti- 
ment of it and the motives which led to it are well set forth in the reso- 
lutions adopted by the " White Man's Club of Pascagoula," at Scran- 
ton, Miss., in the fall of 1874: 

Whereas the negroes of this county and State, in common with those of the entire 
South, have uniformly and persistently exercised the right of suffrage since it has been 
conferred upon them as a consolidated class and people, in opposition to the Southern 
whites, and to all men and measures proposed and upheld by them; and whereas 
such conduct cannot be the result of an exercise of a free, untrammeled expression 
of individual opinion as freemen, but proceeds from bigoted, unfounded, and unjust 
prejudices, kindled and fanned by corrupt, vicious, and designing white men for the 
furtherance of their own base and selfish purposes; and whereas such a course on the 
part of the negroes exhibits an unnatural, ungenerous, and unwarranted distrust of 
the Southern whites, which should not exist, and which serves to degrade the latter 
politically and to ruin and destroy their material interests; and whereas this close 
clanship on' the part of the negroes at the ballot box has been the means of filling 
our public offices with ignorant, incompetent, dishonest, and corrupt officials who 
have wrought the ruin of individuals, communities, and States, until, in the language 
of the State Grange, "taxation in Mississippi has become a burden-so large and ex- 
tensive that the vital energies and industries of our State are becoming sapped, para- 
lyzed, and destroyed, and ruin inevitable and irretrievable stares us in the face ; " and 
whereas such a lamentable condition of affairs is partly due to past political apathy 
and indifference on the part of the Southern whites, as well as to indefatigable zeal 
and energy on the part of those corrupt aliens and strangers who, to prey upon our 
substance and to use the negroes as tools, have cnnsolidated them in Loyal Leagues, 
by guns, signs, and passwords, and by false representations and low and contempti- 
ble association and pretension of social equality have induced them bodily and in 
mass to follow their lead ; therefore be it 

Resolved, That we condemn and denounce such a course of conduct on the part of 
the negroes, whose interests are identical with ours, as unjust, unreasonable, and un- 
warranted, perversive of the exercise of the right of suffrage, and subversive of the 
rights and interests of ourselves as individuals, and of the welfare of the county and 
of the State. 

Resolved, That self-preservation and a proper regard for the welfare of the State de- 
mand that the white people, the owners of the soil, should have a voice in the politi- 


cal control of the affairs of the State ; and to this end, and recognizing that " in union 
there is strength,'' do we unite and combine to assist, strengthen, and sustain one an- 
other in every legitimate way possible— at the ballot box, and the everyday business 
of life as practicable; and we do most earnestly exhort every white man in the State, 
who has at heart her welfare, to unite with us in her deliverance, in securing the elec- 
tion to office of white men of known capacity and integrity. 

Resolved, That we do hereby most distinctly and emphatically aver that we have no 
desire or intention of depriving the negroes of any rights, privileges, or immunities to 
which they are entitled; that we recognize the imperative duty of all good citizens 
of respecting and preserving inviolate, irrespective of race, color, or previous condi- 
tion, the rights of all men under the constitution and laws of the land; and with scorn 
and contempt do we hurl back the foul aspersions attempted to be fastened upon the 
white people of the State and of the South by their slanderous enemies, for political 
effect, that they intend or desire to precipitate upon the ignorant negroes, the dupes 
of bad white men, a " war of races." 

Resolved, That those white men who have consorted with the negroes to mislead 
them, who have by false and fraudulent misrepresentations inflamed their passions 
and prejudices as a race against the white people of the State, who have used them 
as a means to satisfy lust for office, and under pretension of party fealty have labored 
to gratify their own selfish and corrupt desires, are enemies to the people of the 
South ; and whether they be comparative strangers (carpetbaggers) or born among us 
(scalawags), they merit the contempt, and are unworthy the confidence, respect, or sup- 
port in any manner, of any and every true man who loves his race, and every citizen 
who has at heart the good of the State. 

Resolved, That it is to the interest of the white people of the State that capital and 
white labor should come amongst us to buy and work our lands, run our mills and 
factories, and in working out their own fortunes to assist in retrieving ours; and to 
the honest, bona fide settlers who come to help and not to rob us, no matter what may 
be their religious or political faith, do we extend a hearty, cordial welcome, and pledge 
ourselves to assist and encourage in every way white immigration. 

The impatience disclosed by the preceding resolutions was not un- 
natural. The pertinacity o£ the great mass of the colored people in ar- 
raying themselves in opposition to the whites had even attracted 
Kepublican reprehension, as has been shown; that, too, in the face of 
extraordinary moderation of the white people in political matters, and 
of unprecedented concessions by them. 

In the elections of 1865 and 1866 there had been no possibility of a 
color line, since the blacks were not enfranchised, and took no part. 
In the election of 1867, under the reconstruction laws, the whites, from 
causes indicated in a previous chapter, took but little part, virtually 
allowing it to go by default. The whites, it is true, carried the elec- 
tion of 1868, largely by the aid of the negroes, on the question of 
adopting the reconstruction constitution, and for State officers under it 
if adopted; but that was a sort of coup d'fhit, their indifference of the 
year before having thrown the Radicals off their guard, and causing 
them to be unprepared for the sudden effort which the whites made. 

The election of 1869 was that in which, for the first time, there was a 
distinct and active contest with full preparation; and in it, although 
the whites placed no ticket in the field, but supported that of the Na- 


tional Union Eepublicans, with the brother-in-law of President Grant 
at its head, the negroes massed themselves with the Radicals. They 
pursued the same course in the minor elections of 1870, 1871, and 1872. 
In that of 1873 the Democratic party virtually disbanded. Again it 
placed no ticket in the field. The whites supported the Liberal Eepub- 
lican nominees, led by Gov. Alcorn, whom the negroes had elected over 
Dent; but now they defeated him by supporting Ames and his fellows. 

So that, in 1874, when this process had been going on for quite five 
years, when there was some appearance in the political horizon of a 
brighter day, and the temper of the Northern people was felt to be 
changing on the subject of Southern repression, it was but natural that 
to a great many it should appear that the time had come " to quit fool- 
ing with the negroes." Indeed, it seemed a thankless and humiliating 
task to solicit their suffrages further. 

The first indication, it is believed, of a disposition to accept the gage 
of race conflict thus persistently, although ignorantly, offered, was at 
the municipal election in Vicksburg in the summer of 1874. It has 
been already told how Warren County was burdened with officials who 
were not only colored men in whose election the whites, the taxpayers, 
had had no voice, but also were utterly corrupt and prodigal. In 
Vicksburg, however, there was a registered white majority of about 
three hundred votes; and a strong and successful effort was made to 
rally them, as whites, to throw off the oppressive and ruinous negro 
rule. This movement succeeded. The election was carried; and that 
success drew attention to its tactics, and excited more or less inclina- 
tion elsewhere to adopt its principle. 

The Vicksburg Herald, the Pascagoula Star, the luka Herald, and 
other papers, warmly approved the new departure of " the White Man's 
party," and earnestly advocated its general adoption throughout the 
State. The Vicksburg paper twitted the Jackson Clarion because it 
" does not respond very graciously," and asked: "What does the Clarion 
advise?" To that question, an able editorial of August 27, 1874, re- 
sponded, that the movement was contrary to the national Democratic 
platform of 1872, in which the party recognized the equality of all men 
before the law, and pledged itself to oppose the reopening of any of the 
questions settled by the amendments to the constitution; that the ne- 
groes were not altogether to blame for their conduct, but the whites 
were also in fault by their mistakes of 1865 and 1867; that the adop- 
tion of the white-line policy would be a stultification of the whites 
themselves, because it would be the unsaying of all that they had most 
insisted upon for years in respect to the proper relations between the 
races in the field of politics; that not only would it be bad statesman- 
ship and poor patriotism, but also bad policy, since the blacks far out- 
numbered the whites in many counties in the State and in the whole 


State, and also because it would imperil the brightening prospects of 
Democracy in the North. 

Ex-Senator A. G. Brown, whose course since the war had been 
marked by great conservatism, wisdom, and patriotism, wrote, in a 
published letter: 

I am opposed to the white-line movement. I see nothing in it but increased mis- 
chief, and this notwithstanding the triumph of the white men in Vicksburg. There 
is but one thing for ua to expect in communities where the negroes are largely in the 
ascendent if this movement becomes general among the whites, and that is negro 
domination in its most galling and revolting form. ... I am glad that our Vicks- 
burg friendSj since they felt constrained to make the issue, succeeded; and shall be 
rejoiced if they shall use their power so as to convince the negro that his rights are 
safe in the hands of honest Southern white men. Give him full justice, and he may 
no longer lend a willing ear to those who are his worst enemies. 

A month later, the Herald presented to " Gov. Brown and others who 
have kept up such a persistent howl against the ' color line ' policy be- 
cause it would, as they allege, precipitate a war of races," the episode of 
September 14 in New Orleans as a practical object lesson. "The color 
line," it said, " has been very clearly drawn in that city, and yet in the re- 
cent armed conflict, while many white men were killed and wounded, only 
one negro was wounded." To this the Clarion replied that the uprising 
in Louisiana which unseated Kellogg was not a "color line" movement; 
that its object was to' install persons elected on a fusion ticket com- 
posed of whites and blacks, one of the members of the McEnery gov- 
ernment being a negro; that Gov. Penn, in his proclamation, had called 
upon the militia, " without regard to color," and had assured the col- 
ored people that no harm was meant to them or their rights; that the 
only officer of the Kellogg regime who was permitted by the McEnery par- 
ty to remain in office was Dubuclet, the negro State Treasurer, described 
by the Picaijune as " a highly respected colored man, who is the legal 
Treasurer." "If this," said the Clarion, "was a ' color line' movement 
in its objects and animating principle, then it is an entirely different 
thing from the ' line ' here in Mississippi, as drawn and expounded by 
its originators and advocates." These meant that the cooperation of 
the negro would not be admissible on any terms, etc. 

So the discussion progressed. The papers had it all to themselves, 
for the time had not yet come for the people to speak. The papers 
were by no means in accord, and the opponents of the white line were 
greatly in the majority. The Holly Springs Reporter said that " it is 
difficult for us to believe that any sane, intelligent white man can hope 
to accomplish any good for his race or party by the advocacy of such a 
doctrine." The Canton Mail: "We do not propose to join that class 
who are willing to precipitate a conflict between the races." The East 
Mississifpian: "Most assuredly the formation of white leagues and col- 
ored leagues will antagonize the races completely; bloodshed will be 


its result, and then comes Federal intervention." The Greenville 
Times: "If there is any one objection to the practices of Eadicalism 
that has been more strongly inveighed against than any other, it is its 
tendency to array and estrange the races politically. . . . Surely 
nothing out of bedlam can be conceived madder than this urging of a 
'white league 'in this State." The Woodville Republican: "Fortunately 
we have none of it, and the relations of the two races are entirely 
friendly and confidential." The foregoing expressions, it will be seen, 
are culled from all portions of the State. Nevertheless, the fact re- 
mained that the movement had dangerous strength, for the people 
were greatly tired of being fired upon without returning a shot, and it 
required great wisdom and fortitude to refrain from retaliation. 

Such, then, was the complicated and critical situation of affairs in 
the early part of the year 1875, growing mainly, as already stated, out 
of the Louisiana troubles, the grinding and hostile administration of 
Gov. Ames at home, and the rise of the sentiment in favor of a white 
line. All of those things inspired passions, and two of them had to be 
dealt with directly. 

Meanwhile the reputation of Mr. Lamar continued to increase. His 
speech in New Hampshire had added to his fame, and from one end of 
the nation to the other attention was directed to him. The newspapers 
abounded in most complimentary notices of him. For instance: 

The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle and Sentinel: "Were we asked to-day to name the 
foremost statesman of the South in public life — to name a man with the genius, with 
the tact, with the courage, with the patriotism, requisite to lead a great political party 
— we should unhesitatingly call the name of L. Q. C. Lamar." 

The Milwaukee Sentinel : " He is in every respect, at least in appearance, the gentle, 
quiet, firm, and uncompromising statesman, and is really reflecting more credit upon 
the extreme Southern locality from which he came than any other member." . . . 

The Alta Caiifornian: "In the example set in Congress by Mr. Lamar, of Missis- 
sippi, who behaves like a true gentleman toward other members of the House, his 
fellow-representatives have an example which it would do them no injury to study 
and to follow. He is ever courteous, never low and vulgar, never insulting and abu- 
sive, never announcing himself personally responsible, as used to be too common in 
Congress, and which bad specimens of bad breeding, bad manners, and bad feeling 
seem again coming into vogue. He has made friends of both sides of the House, not 
by pandering to or flattering the vanity of either, but by exhibiting a spirit of fair- 
ness on all occasions, an independence of thought truly statesmanlike, but at the 
same time not leaving his own political preferences at all in doubt. Such men are 
an honor to the country." 

On the 22d of May the United States Commission, organized to man- 
age the Centennial Exposition to be held in Philadelphia in the follow- 
ing year, named Col. Lamar and Charles Francis Adams as the orators 
of the occasion — an honor which he was compelled by circumstances to 
decline, but the offer of which was grateful to his people. 

At home even many of the Eadical papers were awarding to him the 


highest encomiums; saving to their partisanship, however, the privilege 
of saying that he was not, in respect of his merits, a representative 
Democrat — for which style of applause he was not very grateful. 

On the other hand, ex-Senator A. G. Brown wrote of him to Hon. E. 
Barksdale, editor of the Clarion, inclosing a " communication," under 
date of May 26: 

The inclosed brief article contains my real sentiments. I feel more inclined to ex- 
press them, inasmuch as I did not, at first fully approve of Lamar's speech over the 
dead Sumner. But, having witnessed its good efiects, I recant. It is now, I think, on 
every account our policy to make him our recognized leader. We thereby, amongst 
many other advantages, get the benefit of his conservative statements so often and so 
boldly expressed. By making him our leader we make these expressions our own, 
and thus disarm our Northern slanderers. 

The communication, which was prominently displayed in the next 

issue of the Clarion, was this: 


Press where you see his white plume shine amid the ranks of war. 
And be your oriflamme, to-day, the helmet of Lamar. 

Nothing could have quickened the hearts of all true friends of constitutional lib- 
erty to a higher degree than the announcement that this peerless orator and incor- 
ruptible statesman intended to take the field in defense of genuine reform, in accord- 
ance with the most approved principles of conservatism. In him the faithful adher- 
ents to order, good government, and universal brotherhood, have a champion worthy 
of their cause. To him more than to any living man are we indebted for that ap- 
proach to harmony and good will between the late conflicting sections of this great 
Union, which all good citizens hail with such sincere delight. . . . The fraternal 
feeling thus rekindled has been growing in fervor and intensity ever since, and bids 
fair, thanks to the genius that pointed the way, to be as lasting as the eternal hills. 

Need I say that the mind which conceived such majestic thoughts is too great to be 
trammeled by party chains, and the heart from which they flow too generous to ex- 
clude the humblest citizen from its affections? 

Who need be ashamed to follow such a leader, I care not what he may call him- 
self? Be he Democrat, Conservative, or Republican, if the ends he aims at be his 
country's, God's, and truth's, then let him cast prejudice aside and follow the lead of a 
man who has already thrown prejudice to the winds, and in the greatness of his soul, 
standing amid the ruins of his State, has said: "My countrymen! let us know one an- 
other, and we will love one another." 

If, however, men, from sordid, selfish, narrow, and contracted or mistaken motives, 
reject his counsels and refuse his lead, then let the contest come. The friends of 
equality, genuine equality, and of constitutional liberty everywhere, and of all races, 
colors, and nationalities, will know whose banner they ought to follow. 

And on they'll burst and on they'll rush, while, like a golden star. 
Amidst the thickest of the fight will blaze the helmet of Lamar. 

Gov. Brown's communication was only a voice from the people. They 

had chosen Mr. Lamar for their leader. Long before the meeting of 

the Congressional Nominating Convention it was apparent that he 

would have no opposition. The Clarion of April 14 said, apropos of 

"Congressional candidates," that "in the First District no man is 

thought of except the present peerless representative, Hon. L. Q. C. 


Lamar, in whose return the whole State (may we not say the whole coun- 
try?) is interested, who will be reelected almost by acclamation to the 
place he has honored." 

As the time for the convention drew near the people began to assem- 
ble in their county mass meetings. In Tippah County, for instance, on 
the 15th of July, it was unanimously resolved that " his course in the 
last Congress meets our unqualified approbation, as an earnest of which 
our delegates to the Congressional Nominating Convention shall be, 
and they are hereby, instructed to cast the vote of this county, first, 
last, and all the time, to return him to a seat which he has filled with 
such distinguished ability, and from which he has shed luster upon the 
name of the State of Mississippi." Exactly similar resolutions, using 
the same expression of " first, last, and always," had been unanimously 
adopted at the meeting in Pontotoc County, three days before; and like 
action was taken in the other counties of the district. When the Nom- 
inating Convention met in Corinth, on the 22d of July, he was renomi- 
nated by acclamation. 

Such was the answer of the people to the query from the North as to 
whether Col. Lamar truly represented the feelings of the white people 
of his State, and to the assertion by the Eadical newspapers of the State 
that he did not. 

It will be remembered that the Democratic party in Mississippi had 
been disbanded, and that its members, together with that class who 
called themselves Conservatives, had been endeavoring to win relief 
from Eadical rule by cooperating with the Liberal Republicans. This 
experiment had proven ineffectual. Therefore the Democratic mem- 
bers of the Legislature, during its last session, in view of the Demo- 
cratic victories North, and at the solicitation of numerous friends of the 
party, met in caucus in the Capitol on the 3d of March. That caucus 
appointed a committee of forty-two, composed of men holding all 
shades of Democratic and Conservative opinion, with instructions to 
take such steps and make such recommendations to the Democratic and 
Conservative people of the State as would, in their judgment, lead to a 
thorough reorganization of the Democratic-Conservative party. Hon. 
John M. Stone, State Senator, was made Chairman of the committee, 
and on the 10th of April he published a call for a meeting, in the city 
of Jackson, on the 17th of May, of the members of the committee, " to- 
gether with such friends of our cause as are willing to give us their 
counsel and support." The committee met on the day appointed, pur- 
suant to the Chairman's call, together with numerous friends from all 
over the State, amongst them Col. Lamar. It was first resolved that 
" all Democrats, Conservatives, and anti-Radicals " be invited to partic- 
ipate. Resolutions were then adopted to the effect that the Democratic 


and Conservative people of Mississippi assemble in delegate convention 
at Jackson on the 3d of August, to nominate a candidate for State 
Treasurer, to adopt a xjlatform of principles, and to organize the party 
for the November elections. The people were recommended to nomi- 
nate their ablest and best men for Congress, for the Legislature, and 
for the county ,oflB.ces. A committee of three was appointed to confer 
with the State Executive Committee of the Eepublican party, with a 
view of getting their cooperation in some movement looking to a fair 
representation of both parties on the Boards of Registrars. 

This action stirred the people deeply. At once, work in the counties 
began; and from this time forth the newspapers of the period are filled 
with accounts of mass meetings, great political gatherings, speakings, 
barbecues, etc. The State was thoroughly aroused. The meeting at 
Falkner's Station, in Tippah County, already mentioned, may serve as 
a specimen of scores of others all over the State. 

The little town was crowded with people from all parts of the coun- 
try, who had assembled to hear Mr. Lamar. The speaker's stand was 
erected in a beautiful grove, and at eleven o'clock a vast audience had 
assembled. The speaker was introduced by Hon. Thomas Spight " in a 
few well-chosen remarks, wherein he said that he had the honor of intro- 
ducing Hon. L. Q. C. Lamar, whose name had become the synonym of 
eloquence and statesmanship throughout this broad land." Mr. Lamar 
followed in a speech of near three hours length upon State and national 
politics. " He dwelt at great length upon the condition of affairs in the 
State. He animadverted upon the corruption and tyranny of the 
carpetbag and Radical officeholders in the South, and expressed the 
hope that the jubilee of the tax-ridden and oppressed people of the 
South was near at hand. He showed up our alien government in a light 
that reflected no honor upon its administration. He showed, and 
proved by official documents, which he read, that Gov. Ames had en- 
deavored at divers times during his gubernatorial stay in this State to 
corrupt the sanctity and purity of the judicial ermine by dictating to 
the courts what was his will, and threatening, in the event that his man- 
dates were not complied with, the expulsion from office of the members 
of the bench. He further showed that Ames was responsible for the 
shameful bloodshed at Vicksburg last fall; that it was Ames and his 
minions who have so shamefully drawn the color line in this State, 
which has proved so disastrous to both races. The speaker said that 
nothing short of earnest and incessant cooperation among the oppo- 
nents of Radical misrule could ever redeem the people of this unfortu- 
nate State. He adverted to the days of Benton, Calhoun, and a host of 
other true and honest patriots, contrasting the state of affairs then with 
the present. He complimented the people of old Tippah upon being^ 
represented in the Legislature by so pure, patriotic, and able a man as 


Capt. Spight, and recommended that he be sent back again. The 
speaker was loudly applauded many times during his remarks, and re- 
tired amid the deafening shouts of the audience." After the address 
dinner was announced. Then the people returned to the stand and 
resolved themselves into a convention, which proceeded to elect del- 
egates and adopt resolutions. It was earnestly addressed by Gol. W. C. 
Falkner. The meeting adjourned at four o'clock, and the remainder of 
the evening was spent by the young people in dancing in the grove, fol- 
lowed by a ball in Eijpley at night, where "all went merry as a mar- 
riage bell." 

Nearly all of these meetings dealt with the question of the color line. 
The proceedings in the celebrated county of Yazoo may serve as an ex- 
ample. The resolutions were proposed and adopted seriatim, amongst 

Resolved, That we are in favor of a vigorous and aggressive canvass in the contest 
now approaching in Mississippi, and we appeal to our fellow-citizens throughout the 
State to unite with us in our endeavors by legitimate means to regain control of our 
public affairs, and thus secure to all classes, white and black, the blessings of a just 
and honest government. 

Resolved, That we favor low taxes and an immediate reduction of all public ex- 

Resolved, That honesty and capacity are the only proper tests of oflBcial fitness. 

Resolved, That all men are equal before the law, and are endowed by their Creator 
with certain inalienable rights, amongst which is not the right to hold office unless 
the aspirant possesses the integrity and other qualiflcalions necessary to its execu- 

A white-line resolution, offered in this series, was voted down and re- 
jected. In Pontotoc County, at the meeting of July 12, addressed by 
Col. Lamar, the fourth resolution was: 

Resolved, That we hereby freely and cordially invite all persons, of whatever race, 
color, or previous affiliation, to unite with us in securing for all a good, economical, 
and honest government in lieu of the oppressive, extravagant, and corrupt one we 
now have. 

So, like resolutions were adopted in the counties of Prentiss, Clarke, 
Marshall, Montgomery, Sunflower, Grenada, De Soto, Bolivar, Holmes — 
in fact, so far as the accessible files of old papers show, in all, with only 
two exceptions; and in them no platforms are given as adopted. 

The Congressional Convention at Corinth, which renominated Col. 
Lamar, adopted a resolution submitted by him at the conclusion of his 
speech before that body: 

That we are opposed to the formation of parties among the people of this State 
founded upon diflferences of race or color, and we cordially invoke the union of good 
citizens of every race and color in patriotic efforts to defeat at the next election the 
present State administration and its supporters, and to secure to all the blessings of 
an honest and capable government. 

The State Convention met at Jackson as appointed, on the 3d of 


August. The body was worthy of the occasion. Every portion of the 
State was represented by delegates of its very ablest and most honored 

When the convention had organized, Col. Lamar, according to an old 
engagement, was called upon to address them. Although much worn 
from excessive speaking in the open air during the past month, he spoke 
for three hours. A report was made by the Pilot, which, although the 
abstract of a Eadical and hostile paper (Gov. Ames' organ), is still the 
best account extant of the address; and it is given below. The very 
fact that it was an enemy's version, and, therefore, was an admission 
against interest, stood him in good stead later, as will appear. 

Oenllemen of the Convention: I am afraid that my physical condition will prevent me 
from fully complying with the promise that I made, some months ago, to address the 
people at this place, and yet I regard it as a self-assumed responsibility to our people 
and our party that I am unwilling to shift upon another. It has been said by an em- 
inent Southern divine that we live in a time of great events, an era of change — change 
in the national constitution, change in the government, change in the people, change 
in social and political relations— and this American Government is either to advance 
to a higher plane or retrograde to a lower one. The greatest trials of a people are ex- 
perienced while in the transition state. The complications growing out of the incor- 
poration of a new foreign and incongruous element, comprising four millions of peo- 
ple, eight hundred thousand voters, cannot fail in producing disturbance in the old 
balance of affairs. They are j'eally appalling in their character. Suppose as many 
Chinamen were brought into the country and quickly scattered among the people. 
What would not be the alarm of the people, and the terrible havoc and unspeakable 
catastrophe that would follow? Yet this would be much less threatening to our insti- 
tutions and less dangerous to society than the forcing upon our political system, by 
the hand of violence, of four million liberated slaves. A majority of the American 
people looked upon this forced liberation and elevation of this race with deep solici- 
tude and apprehension. It hangs like a mistletoe upon the body politic, to sap its 
life. It cannot but endanger the nation's life, and threatens its overthrow. Not only 
the masses, but the leading statesmen of the North, looked with fear and dread upon 
the political experiment which contemplated the incorporation of this race and its 
exercise of the elective franchise. There is no disputing the fact that these people 
have not been heretofore looked upon as a part and portion of the society of the 
Southern States, but rather as an appendage, like unto the mistletoe, that attaches it- 
self to the oak, but is not part and parcel of its growth ; but rather as an excrescence, 
that might be useful, ornauiental, or otherwise. Senator Morton, the great apostle of 
Republicanism, in a speech made in 1865, expressed his grave doubts as to the wisdom 
of making the colored man a voter. When this speech was made it was natural that 
the Southern people should not be in accord with such experimental policy. They 
knew the capabilities of the negro and his fitness to vote, and believed that to clothe 
him with these awful attributes, even with freedom's ballot and the incentive of free- 
dom's blessings before him, would be a great wrong. "They are not qualified," said 
Indiana's great war Senator, " to take part in the government not only of the United 
States, but of the States of the United States." Colored State governments we know 
are not desirable, and their inevitable result is a war of the races. [Cheers.] The 
people of the South, however, are an adaptable people ; and they have in a measure 
adapted themselves to the changed state of affairs and the new order of things. They 
saw the great calamity which the policy of the government would bring, and at once 


prepared with all their earnestness and zeal to avert it. What a vast and awful task 
was before theml The old system of government was ruined and destroyed, and out 
of its wreck they had to build and reconstruct the new. Yet, formidable as was the 
undertaking, there were propitious circumstances. The people had hope that they 
might yet run a career of progress and prosperity. They had left to them their hon- 
or and good name, the old common law, and the Anglo-Saxon race, born amid the 
principles of liberty, and which they have never been known to give up or let go un- 
der so long as they had the handling of affairs. [Applause.] They knew the great 
stake that they held in the success of this great republic, and recognized the fact that 
the failure to recognize the new status of their country would result in devastation and 
disaster to their posterity. They gathered the di^ecta membra, the remains of their 
shattered communities, and united in the restoration of the members of society. They 
hoped for their reunited country; but this hope was dispelled, and the Southern sky 
was darkened by the party in power. It presumed on a latent loyal sentiment here 
which did not exist ; and, not finding it, then looked beyond the white man to the ne- 
gro for assistance. The rebel element could not be trusted to do the work required to 
be done. Hence followed Federal interference in Southern affairs : Freedman's Bureau 
agents, reconstruction, and bayonets. The disloyalty of the South was given as a pre- 
text for this action ; and to this day this cry is kept up, and this Federal interference 
comes and establishes and maintains governments alien to all the people, white and 
black. In his place in Congress the speaker had said that the iron that they had 
thrust into the hearts of the Southern people by this relentless and wicked policy 
burned deeper than the wounds which followed hostile armies. The Freedman's Bu- 
reau, the Civil Rights Bill, the reconstruction laws, with agents and military officers, in- 
trenched themselves in the South by force, and are here to-day. The principle is that 
this policy must trample on the rights of the whites to protect the rights of the blacks, 
and thus the government itself originally drew the color line in Southern politics as dis- 
tinctly as if it was an organic requirement of government. Sir Walter Scott, in his 
novel, " The Talisman," tells of the battle between Eichard of the Lion Heart arid Sal- 
adin. When Eichard reared his battle-ax on high and made the fearful blow, Saladin 
drew his scimiter, snatched a gauzy, silken veil, threw it in the air, and with one 
stroke of his keen and trenchant blade cut its folds asunder as it descended. The 
government has used both instruments of destruction. With the battle-ax and iron 
hand it has crushed out the system in vogue for years ; with the lighter sword it h^s 
cut asunder the silken tissue of kindness and friendship that had existed between the 
two races. These agencies were indeed well adapted to produce the color line, of 
which men now so bitterly complain, and they have done their work with a certainty 
and completeness that could not be mistaken. But in all he said, he disclaimed any 
intention to be personal. His remarks did not especially apply to Southern Republi- 
cans ; for their efforts, he claimed, were neither helps nor hurt to their cause. They 
had not succeeded either in elevating or purifying their party, and he begged them to 
return to their old friends, and cooperate with them. He referred to the committees 
sent to Louisiana, and to the character of the testimony that they brought back to 
Congress. Upon this point the speaker dwelt at some length. He took up the Vicks- 
burg matter, and, dwelling upon it some twenty minutes, and reading from the testi- 
mony of Gov. Ames, Judge Brown, Gen. Packer, and others, attempted to prove that 
Gov. Ames was responsible for that bloody work, and to excuse it so far as his party 
was concerned. He said nothing in condemnation of such lawless affairs. The 
speaker then depicted, in vivid sketches, the condition of the South in its past days of 
prosperity; the honor and pride that comes of government administered by compe- 
tent hands; the scene he witnessed in the United States Senate when the Southern 
Senators withdrew, and the speeches made on that occasion ; and the surrender of the 
government to Northern hands, after Southern statesmen had controlled it, as he 


claimed, from its infancy, without a blot upon its fair name, matchless in strength, 
and unsurpassed in grandeur! In the consideration of remedies for present evils, the 
speaker said that two separate theories were presented, struggling for mastery. One is 
to continue the present restrictive policy, and to give the President more power to op- 
press and cripple the South. Under this head the speaker reviewed the character and 
scope of the enforcement laws, force bills, and other similar legislation; and, although 
the new National House of Representatives was Democratic (applause), the President 
still has power to march his army into the country to oppress and outrage the people. 
Against this policy he pledged the united opposition of his party. (Applause.) An- 
other remedy, comprising the Democrats, Liberal Republicans, and many independ- 
ent voters who are tired of the policy of Federal force and commotion, was suggested. 
This policy, said the speaker, was based on reconciliation and good feeling. He held 
that the freedom and enfranchisement of the colored men was fixed in the constitu- 
tion, but that the responsibility of government should rest upon the hands that will 
be most afiFected and are most capable. He then referred to leading Democratic poli- 
ticians, North, to show in what spirit they view the question of local self-government, 
and their unqualified acceptance of the constitutional amendments. The issue of the 
next national canvass will be, unless the Republican party is reorganized as to policy 
and leadership, whether this Union shall consist of the North and South, as equals, 
or whether the Union shall consist of the North alone. The Republican party has 
long enough obstructed the government. At no time since the government was estab- 
lished has there been more desire for peace and reconciliation among the American 
people than now, on the basis of equality and friendship, and he was rejoiced to see 
this spirit. Once convince the Northern people that the workings of the local gov- 
ernments of the South shall be conducted to protect the colored men in all their 
rights, and in cooperation with them in the sovereignty of the government, and they 
will become strong and invincible. The means of relief is to make a change at Wash- 
ington. Now what can be done? He approached this branch of the discussion with 
the utmost confidence, because the people of the South have the moral courage and 
heroism upon which to base a hope for reform. After paying a tribute to the moral 
and Christian character of the white people of the South, the speaker proceeded to 
speak of the amendments. If any one thing is true, said he, the people of Mississippi 
have pledged themselves to sustain the three amendments to the constitution,, and 
have no power or desire to change them. They confer upon the newly enfranchised 
race the sacred rights of freemen, and their rights are your duties. Impaired by any 
act of yours, your duties by that same act are violated, and the constitution of your 
country is violated. The speaker felt it his duty to ascend to this high position on this 
subject. Any effort, said he, looking to an abridgment of their rights is fraught with 
disaster and burdens and ruin to this people. The color line was talked of. Hedeclared 
that it would be ruinous to its victors, if victory could be won that way. It is not 
right. It is not Republican. One of the principles of Democratic government is that 
all parts of the body politic shall contribute to its support and control. Any race or- 
ganization which seeks to assert the exclusive management of a country may have 
good government, but cannot have liberty. It is tyranny unmixed, and is fraught 
with disaster. Woe be unto you if you find yourselves confronted, on such a suicidal 
policy, by the powers of a vindictive government brought upon your defenseless 
heads. The speaker appealed to the convention to come up to the requirements of 
the crisis that is upon them, to realize fully their duties and responsibilities; and, after 
an eloquent peroration, which we- shall not attempt to give, retired from the stand 
amid the most rapturous applause. 

The Clarion of the next day said of this speech that 

By all odds it was the ablest that has been pronounced in the Capitol since the 


-war. It was massive in argument, irresistible in logic, statesmanlike in the policy it 
advocated, and eloquent. A great deal was expected, but the highest expectation in- 
dulged by the public was more than realized. His audience was held spellbound for 
more than three hours. 

After the address, letters of sympathy were read from Allen G. Thur- 
man, Hon. Ben H. Hill, and Thomas A. Hendricks; and then, after some 
loutine business, the Committee on Resolutions reported the platform, 
"which vFas as follows: 

The Democratic and Conservative people of the State of Mississippi, in convention 
assembled, invoking the blessing of Almighty God upon their efforts, and inviting 
the cooperation of all citizens of the State who favor an honest, impartial, and eco- 
nomical administration, do adopt the following declaration of their aims and 
principles : 

1. We recognize and will maintain the civil and political equality of all men as 
established by the Constitution of the United States and the amendments thereto. 

2. We are in favor of the education of all the children of the State in public schools 
sustained by adequate taxation, but we are opposed to extravagant and partisan ad- 
ministration of said schools. 

3. The selection only of honest, faithful, and competent men for all the offices, from 
the highest to the lowest. 

4. Economy in the administration of the government; the abolition of useless and 
unnecessary offices; and a reduction in the fees and salaries of those that are re- 
tained, and a strict and rigid accountability of all officers having the custody of public 
money or charged with its collection. 

5. Biennial sessions of the Legislature and a reduction in the expenses of that de- 
partment of thegovernment; and we denounce the Republican party of the State for 
their violated pledges on this subject. 

6. The selection of an able and competent judiciary, and a confining of the judges 
to judicial functions purely, so that all temptation to partisanship on the bench shall 
he removed. 

7. A discontinuance of the enormous evil of special and local legislation, and in its 
stead the enactment of general laws, under which local and private interests will be 
fully protected. 

8. The encouragement of agriculture by securing to the farmer and the laborer the 
just rewards of their toil and capital, and by relief from the burdensome taxation 
■which now consumes their substance. 

9. The encouragement of manufactures in our midst. 

10. The elevation of the standard of official character, so as to infuse into official 
life a sense of public duty, the spirit of patriotism and integrity, to the end that gov- 
ernment, law, and public authority may be invested with the moral influence and 
dignity, which will insure respect and obedience. 

11. We favor immediate action of the general government for the protection of the 
Mississippi River lowlands against inundation. 

12. The building up of partisan newspapers by legislation, the arming of the mili- 
tia in time of peace, the unconstitutional attempt to take from the people the election 
of tax collectors, the attempted passage of the Metropolitan Police Bill, the attempted 
corruption of the judiciary by the use of Executive patronage, we denounce as gross 
outrages upon constitutional liberty ; while, as evidence of the utter incapacity of 
our present rulers to administer the affiiirs of the State, we point to the mass of con- 
fusion in which the revenue and registration laws of the State have become involved, 
the necessity of extraordinary sessions of the Legislature to cure the blunders and 

256 • LUCtUS Q. a LAMAR: 

follies of the regular sessions, and to the repeated Executive and legislative acte which 
have been by the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional and void. 

13. That we cordially invite the voters of all the people of both races to unite vig- 
orously with us in the approaching canvass, in a determined effort to give success to 
the foregoing principles, and thus to secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings 
of an honest, economical government, administered by able, efficient, and competent 
public officers. 

On motion o£ Mr. Singleton, it was resolved that " this convention 
cordially approves the course of the Hon. L. Q. C. Lamar in the Con- 
gress of the United States, and holds in the highest estimation his great 
services in the cause of reconciliation, peace, and good government." 
Thus Mr. Lamar was indorsed from start to finish: in every county of 
his district, in the district convention, and in that of the State. 

The Pilot of that week said of his speech, among other things: 

The little speech of Col. Lamar knocked the Herald's and the Monitor's color line 
arrangement " higher than a kite." ... As to the effect that the speaker and his 
piece will exert upon the canvass, we must say that we are shrouded in uncertainty 
and doubt. They may serve to save the Democracy and defeat Republicanism in Mis- 
sissippi, but we do not believe that they will. However, Mr. Lamar did the best that 
he could, and if his party has to suffer defeat in November — as we believe it will — he 
can have the consciousness of having performed his duty to his party to the full extent 
of his ability and strength. 

Of these events and their relations to the fortunes of Mr. Lamar, and 
more particularly of their political significance, nationally considered, 
the Northern press had much to say. For instance: 

The New York Tribune: " No Congressman of the present time is more generally 
liked than Mr. Lamar, of Mississippi. Journals of all parties rejoice at his renomina- 
tion, and pronounce him one of the ablest and most useful men in Congress. The 
best of it is that he deserves all the popularity that he enjoys." 

The Detroit Free Press: "The renomination of Mr. Lamar for Congress in Missis- 
sippi is a well-deserved tribute to a gentleman whose course as a Representative in 
the last Congress was one of which his district and State may well be proud. It is no 
disparagement to other Southern Representatives to say that he, mfcre ably and suc- 
cessfully than any other, laid the views, hopes, and feelings of the South before Con- 
gress and the people of the country. ... It was and is a favorite theory of his 
that the better acquainted the sections are with each other the higher will be the 
mutual appreciation and the less danger of sectional legislation. The experience of 
Vice President Wilson, Judge Kelley, and many other prominent Northern men who 
have recently visited the South confirms this theory, the almost invariable results of a 
Southern tour being to convince the tourists that the South is not near as black as it 
has been painted." 

The Boston Post: "The unanimous nomination of Congressman Lamar by the Dem- 
ocrats of the First Mississippi District is sufficient evidence that the genuine citizen- 
ship of that State is competent to look out for itself if let alone. Mr. Lamar has been 
an honest and able representative of his constituency, and that is reason enough for 
retaining him in the place he now occupies ; but he has been far more than that. He 
has risen to the full requirements of a statesman, and has exerted an influence felt 
for good throughout the whole nation. Regeneration in politics, reconciliation, and 
all the immediate needs of our new Union, he has devoted himself to with all the en- 


thusiasm and brilliant, even vivid, eloquence that he possesses. His influence could 
not well be spared from the forces that in the next few years are to bring this repub- 
lic up to a higher plane of honor and prosperity. ... In Col. Lamar the people 
have a leader whose good faith and ability can be trusted, and it is a gratifying pros- 
pect that his public services are not to be lost." 

The Tribwae again: " The Democratic party in Mississippi has been heard from. It 
has heard a speech by Hon. Mr. Lamar, and it has passed resolutions. . . . Alto- 
gether the condition of the Mississippi Democrats is rational and pleasing." 

At this period also the papers, both North and South, had a good 
deal to say about a "reconciliation" Presidential ticket for the ap- 
proaching election, to be composed of Gen. N. P. Banks, of Massachu- 
setts, and Mr. Lamar; a movement which seems to have originated in 
Boston amongst the Democratic soldiers and sailors of that city. 

On the 15th of August the State Executive Committee promulgated an 
address, which was prepared by Hon. H. H. Chalmers, later Chief Jus- 
tice of the Supreme Court, from which the following extracts are made, 
in order to illustrate the feelings and designs of this momentous canvass: 

We hail the advent to power of a Democratic Congress, for the first time in fifteen 
years, as a pledge to the nation that the shameless disregard of the right of local self- 
government and the bold usurpations of power which have marked the recent his- 
tory of public afiairs shall have an end. . . . From the passions of the war, pur- 
posely played upon and kept alive by the party in power, it is pleasing to turn to the 
indications of returning good will between the sections everywhere so abundant and 
so cordial. The people of Mississippi gladly welcome and heartily reciprocate these 
manifestations of patriotism and fraternal love, and they view with pleasure the pros- 
pect that the Presidential contest of the Centennial year will be crowned with the 
triumph of a candidate whose election shall put an end to sectional ill will and dis- 
trust at the North, and to the domination of ignorance and race hatred at the South. 

Preparatory to that great struggle it becomes us to address ourselves to the task of 
shaking ofi" in Mississippi a local government whose history has brought the blush of 
shame to the cheeks of Northern Republicans, and which, in connection with its kin- 
dred governments at the South, has done much to overthrow the Eepublican party of 
the nation. Indeed, nothing but the passions and prejudices growing out of a civil 
war could so long have blinded the American people to the true character of the gro- 
tesque caricatures on government which have afflicted these Southern States. 

A glance at the condition of affairs in our own State will serve as a sample of the 
whole : 

In the chief executive chair we have an alien and adventurer whose only interest 
in the State is in the office which he now holds and the others which he is scheming 
to obtain, and whose habitual and contemptuous disregard of our constitution and 
laws is onl}' equaled by his ignorance of the elementary principles of civil govern- 
ment. Accusations of a much darker nature are brought against him by members of 
his own party. A prominent and influential Eepublican, high in the councils and 
confidence of his party, has not hesitated to charge him with complicity in the san- 
guinary riot which a few months ago startled the nation and drenched the streets of 
Vicksburg with blood. This gentleman has declared in public speeches, upon Repub- 
lican authority deemed reliable by him, that the Governor of the State, in defiance of 
the earnest protests of his Attorney-general, issued the reckless and wicked orders 
which precipitated that unhappy conflict, and that he justified his action by the re- 


mark, made at the time, that " the blood of twenty-five or thirty negroes slain at 
Vicksburg would benefit the Republican party in the State." To add a darker shade 
to his guilt (if guilty he be), he subsequently attempted in his testimony before a 
Congressional committee to cast upon the white men of Warren County the responsi- 
bility for the blood that was shed upon that unhappy occasion. No blacker nor more 
damning crime than this has been laid at the door of a chief magistrate since Nero 
fired imperial Rome and charged the act upon the early Christians. 

The office of Lieutenant Governor of the State is occupied by one against whom, 
in addition to an incompetence patent to all men, there are grave suspicions of brib- 
ery in the discharge of official duties. The instruction of our youth is intrusted to a 
Superintendent of Public Education who to-day stands indicted by a grand jury, of 
numerous felonies, and whom his own party had neither the courage to impeach nor 
the audacity to defend. Our judicial positions, with some honorable exceptions, are 
filled by men of no repute in their professions, and in some instances by those who 
first announced themselves as members of the bar by the assumption of the highest 
honors of the bench. Our inferior offices are occupied in many instances by men 
utterly illiterate, and so ignorant of the simplest duties of their positions that their 
attempts to discharge them would be ludicrous if they were not so harmful. Our 
legislative halls are controlled by a combination of ignorance and corruption which 
baffles all hope of reformation. The men who impose our taxes are entirely dissev- 
ered in sympathy and interest fi:om those by whom they are paid. The logical and 
inevitable consequence has been that the rate of taxation. State and local, has in- 
creased more than fifteen hundred per cent in the short space of six years, and yet 
our people, each day growing poorer, and staggering under a burden too grievous to 
be borne, see with despair the public expenses each year exceeding the revenue. 

No relief from this intolerable scene of wastefulness, imbecility, and con-uption 
can be expected at the hands of the Republican party of the State. The same men 
who have wrought these evils are still the controlling spirits of its organization, and 
will be its chosen leaders and candidates in the approaching election. How, indeed, 
can a party be expected to put down corruption which numbers upon its State Exec- 
utive Committee two convicted thieves, one of whom, convicted of petit larceny, has 
paid the penalty of his crime; and the other, convicted of embezzlement, is now an 
inmate of the penitentiary ? The overthrow of such a government and the defeat 
of such a party are the supreme necessity of the hour, and have become the duty of 
every honest man. In this noble work, upon a platform of equal right to all, we 
invoke the aid of all who prefer intelligence rather than ignorance, purity rather 
than corruption, economy rather than wasteful extravagance, and low taxes rather 
than legalized robbery under the guise of taxation," etc. 

On the 25th of August Mr. Lamar wrote as follows to Mr. Eeemelin: 

It would give me greater pleasure to visit you than to speak at the Exposition. 

I would be very glad to get back once more to private life. I do not see any field 
of usefulness to our country yet ready for a man of my section and of my political 
antecedents. The strain for mere existence down here renders our intellect of little 
avail in its contributions to those questions in which all parts of the country are alike 

I have just emerged from a struggle to keep our people from a race conflict. I am 
not sure that we are yet safe, for the black line is still maintained by the agents of 
the Federal Government. The negro race, which has no idea of a principle of gov- 
ernment or of society beyond that of obedience to the mandate of a master, sees in 
these agents the only embodiment of authority (mastership') in the country, and their 
obedience to them is not a whit less slavish than it was formerly to their masters. 
We could, by forming the " color line," and bringing to bear those agencies which in- 


tellect, pluck, and will always give, overcome the stolid, inert, and illiterate majority ; 
but such, a victory will bring about conflicts and race passions and collisions with 
Federal power. , Our only deliverance is in a change of Federal policy toward us. 

In the campaign of the summer and fall Mr. Lamar took active and 
arduous part. He spoke to vast audiences at Coffeeville, Oxford, Gren- 
ada, Quitman, Scooba, Aberdeen, Holly Springs, and many other places. 
At Coffeeville and elsewhere, while always specially " remembering the 
few white men, largely from other States, who have s.uccessfully manipu- 
lated the colored men for their own purposes," he pleaded for the col- 
ored people themselves. He urged that they had been made the un- 
conscious instruments of an oppression which they neither originated 
nor understood, and he said that the white people of the South would 
never forget to the blacks their faithfulness and services in the past. 
He gave them much good counsel as to their relations to the white 
people and to political questions; and it was noted that they always 
listened attentively and seemed to be pleased. 

At the request of Mr. Lamar, Senator Gordon had come from Geor- 
gia to assist in this canvass. He and Mr. Lamar spoke at Oxford on 
the- 1st of September, and again at Grenada on the 6th. There is ex- 
tant an interesting report, by the Clarion correspondent, of this meet- 
ing, which is but a type of very many others held about the State, 
About one hundred and fifty negroes attended. An attempt was made 
by the Radicals to keep them from attending by runners sent through 
the country, and while the speaking was in progress another effort was 
made to draw them away by a counter political demonstration, with 
fifes and drums close by, but unavailingly. Senator Gordon spoke at 
great length. He referred to the paradoxical fact that a party which 
violated the spirit, and in legislation violated the principles, of repub- 
lican government, should assume the name of " Republican." For ten 
years the history of the party in power had been an unbroken series of 
antirepublican, anticonstitutional measures; and he pointed oat, as 
some of the fruits of those measures, a violated constitution, broken 
laws, the overthrow of long and wisely established local self-govern- 
ment, the squandering of public revenue, and the prostitution of a 
brave and generous army to partisan purposes; and that these fruits 
were seen in disrupted socities, dishonored credit, disgrace of the fran- 
chise, oppressive taxation, and widespread ruin. His eloquent por- 
trayal and humorous illustrations of Radical rule in the South were fre- 
quently greeted with cheers and laughter. A good portion of his 
speech was directed to the colored people, who gave him their undi- 
vided attention throughout. He commented " with very happy effect 
upon the carpetbagger's bugbear about putting the colored people back 
into slavery." "It was the carpetbaggers' fathers who sold your 
fathers to us. Why didn't they free you when they owned you? We 

260 LUCIUS Q. a LA MAE: 

did not want you freed; but I tell you, as I lift my hand to heaven, 
that if it were in the power of the people of the South, by a scrap of 
paper and the stroke of a pen, to put you back into slavery, we would 
not do it! " ( Hearty applause. ) He effectually exposed the false state- 
ment, which had been industriously circulated in Grenada and other 
places in Mississippi, as to the status of the colored people under Dem- 
ocratic rule in Georgia; and demonstrated by facts, figures, and public 
documents, that there were that day in the public schools of Georgia 
over forty-two thousand colored children, at the expense of the white 
people. The Legislature that supported, by annual appropriations, the 
white university made an equal annual appropriation to the colored 
college, and this notwithstanding the fact that the colored people of 
Georgia paid less than one-fifth of the taxes. The statistics showed 
that the colored people of Georgia owned over six millions in real es- 
tate and over five millions in personal property, and yet they were 
oppressed in Democratic Georgia! 

After the speaking was over Gen. Walthall read some resolutions 
looking to organization. He made remarks explanatory of the resolu- 
tions, and, in inviting colored men to join the club declared that " col- 
ored men shall be protected in the free exercise of their right to vote, 
if it takes white men's blood to do it "—an allusion to the well-known 
fact that the frequent last resort of the Eadical leaders, the negroes es- 
pecially, for the prevention of defection by colored men to the Demo- 
cratic ranks, was personal violence. 

An interesting feature of this campaign was the publication, by Gen. 
James Z. George, the able, zealous, and indefatigable Chairman of the 
Democratic State Executive Committee, of an open eight-column letter 
upon the notorious Black Code of 1865. This letter was elicited by an 
argument commonly addressed to the freedmen to the effect that the 
Democrats were in power in 1865, and the result was the legislation of 
that year; wherefore, if that party were allowed again to obtain su- 
premacy it would, in some way, abridge or destroy the rights of the 
colored people. After a brief, but clear and forcible, review of the con- 
siderations which should lead the blacks to cooperate with the whites 
in a common effort for the rescue of the State and its good government. 
Gen. George entered upon a review of the legislation assailed, main- 
taining that, after all, it would be found to have in most of its features 
its prototype in the legislation of the Northern States about the black 
race; and, taken as a whole, that it was more moderate in its charac- 
ter, securing greater and more substantial rights to the freedmen, and 
within a shorter period, than the legislation attending emancipation in 
many of the Northern States.* 

The first week in September was signalized by two political riots: 

*The Weekly Clarion of September 15, 1876. 


one at Yazoo City, the other at Clinton. A number of persons of both 
parties were killed and wounded. After the local disturbances thereby 
excited were quieted, Gov. Ames issued a proclamation (aimed at the 
white people) whereby he required all such military companies as were 
organized in various parts of the State, " without authority of law," to 
disband. He also telegraphed to the President that " domestic violence 
prevails in various parts of this State beyond the power of the authori- 
ties to suppress," and called upon him for aid. Gen. George, however, 
on the next day telegraphed to the Attorney-general that there were 
no existing disturbances and no obstructions to the enforcement of the 
laws, and that the employment of United States troops would only in- 
crease the distrust of the people in the State government. Numerous 
offers of companies composed of white men, without respect to political 
affiliations, coming from the most prominent and responsible citizens 
of the State, and some through the Chairman of the Democratic State 
Executive Committee, were made to the Governor, for service in estab- 
lishing and maintaining order in any part of the State, if he should 
need them. " But," said the Clarion, "this is not the kind of protection 
Ames wants nor the peace he desires. He yearns for the peace that he 
gave the people of Mississippi in 1869, when he was military ruler here. 
A peace that filled the prison camps with white men, whose crimes 
were that they were white. Southern born, and Democrats; that per- 
mitted colored men who had joined Conservative clubs to be murdered 
at night in their cabins or beaten, ridden on rails, and driven from their 
homes; that permitted his military subordinates to charge on horse- 
back into Democratic processions with sabers gleaming and pistols 
cocked; that encouraged the petty majors and captains and lieutenants 
to tie up by the thumbs colored Conservatives, because they dared ex- 
press their opinions; that permitted his brutal soldiery, with clubbed 
muskets, to drive Democrats from the polls, while the Eadicals took 
entire possession and voted as often as they pleased." 

The Attorney-general, however, notified Gov. Ames that the Presi- 
dent had declared that "the whote public are tired with the annual au- 
tumnal outbreaks in the South, and the great majority- are now ready 
to condemn any interference on the part of the government;" that he 
was expected to use the aid offered him by the people of the State, and 
that before calling for Federal aid he must present a case within the 
constitution of insurrection against the State government, etc. 

The Governor availed himself but very little of the assistance offered 
by white companies. He proceeded, on the other hand, to organize 
numerous black companies of militia, and so managed them as to cre- 
ate a great excitement and to subject himself to the open charge that 
he was meditating a hostile invasion of Yazoo County by black compa- 
nies from Hinds, with the design to precipitate a conflict between the 


races, so as to force Federal interference. So rash and indefensible 
was his course that the Kepublican and Independent papers North cen- 
sured him severely. Said the New York Tribune: "All the proceedings 
following the Clinton riot have served to bring out more clearly the 
entire incompetency of this man for his present position. And yet, 
with such an Attorney-general as we had a year ago, he might have 
had United States troops now roving over Mississippi at his bidding, 
making domiciliary visits at midnight and dragging peaceable citizens 
miles away from home to stand trial for imaginary offenses. The like 
was seen in Louisiana and Alabama, it will be remembered, just before 
the elections of November, 1874." The Philadelphia Times said: "Pierre- 
pont may be a better lawyer than Williams, but he can't run an outrage 
mill. And here are elections coming off and no troops. It is too bad! " 
The St. Louis Globe-Democrat said: "Gov. Ames's assertion that the in- 
terference which he calls for is necessary is flatly contradicted by the 
evidence of those [meaning Republicans] who have quite as good a 
claim upon our trust as he has, and who would not be likely to deny 
the existence of such necessity if they thought it existed." The New 
York Herald: "Ames is working for an election to the United States 
Senate. It would be a just retribution for his scandalous and danger- 
ous course if the next Legislature, instead of making him a Senator, 
should impeach and remove him." Thus the Herald came to the posi- 
tion which the Clarion had taken a year before. 

Notwithstanding the intense feeling and the excitements which pre- 
ceded it, the election passed off quietly. The Democratic-Conservative 
party won a sweeping victory. The white people had been aroused as 
never before, and great numbers of blacks, for the first time, had joined 
the Democratic clubs. The State Treasurer, four of the six Congress- 
men, and tbe Legislators by an overwhelming majority in both Houses, 
were Democratic. This result, which closed the career of the carpet- 
bagger m the State, caused the utmost rejoicing throughout the State, 
and was the occasion of great congratulation through the South. Nor 
were the Northern people displeased, barring the comparatively small 
number of intense partisans. 

In Mississippi, from border to border, the general rejoicing was man- 
ifested by the ringing of bells, the firing of cannon and anvils, the mar- 
shaling of the happy voters in torchlight processions, fireworks, and 
the illumination of the towns. Nor were the jubilations confined en- 
tirely to the Democrats or the whites, for many Liberal Eepublicans 
and many colored people took part. 

Of this political deliverance the Washington Capital, in an editorial 
reproduced in the Jackson Clarion, said: 

Mississippi is to be congratulated, for she is once more a free State. Whatever of 
sorrow or joy the various results of the recent elections may carry to cliques and par- 


ties, the final emancipation of Mississippi from the rule of the carpetbagger may be 
regarded as a national blessing. To Hon. L. Q. 0. Lamar, more than any other man, 
the country is indebted for the rehabilitation of this State. With the constitution in 
one hand and the olive branch in the other he has met the Radicals of the South and 
the Eadicals of the North; he has, by precept and example, taught his own people 
the lesson of patience and long-suffering; he has labored earnestly, conscientiously, 
and successfully. . . . The result in Mississippi is not to be regarded in the light 
of a party victory, but as the beginning of a new era in the material interests of a 
State whose recuperative powers have been paralyzed since the war, because the re- 
sult of the recent election was postponed by the Ameses, Williames, and Sheridans 
until the year 1875. 

When the Legislature met in January, 1876, steps were taken looking 
to the impeachment of Gov. Ames, Lieut. Gov. Davis, and Superintend- 
ent of Public Education Cardozo. The Lieutenant Governor was speed- 
ily convicted of bribery and removed from office; Cardozo resigned 
under charges. 

On the 22d of February the special committee reported, with the evi- 
dence taken by it, a resolution calling for the impeachment of the Gov- 
ernor on twenty-three articles. On the next day Col. Lamar, still in 
ignorance of the action of the committee, wrote as follows to Gen. 

Washington, D. C, February 23, 1876. 

My Dear General : . . . 1 want to tell you something confidentially that I have 
learned from indisputable authority — well, just between you and me, my authority is 
Beck. He had a conversation with old Ben Butler yesterday. He learned from him 
all about the impeachment of Ames. The old fellow stated every ground, and had a 
very plausible and — as Beck thought, without knowing the other side — a very satis- 
factory defense against each charge. He said that they could not prove any corrup- 
tion, any theft, any embezzlement, any robbery. And yet Beck saw that he was anx- 
ious and uneasy. He said that Davis was guilty, and that Ames could give them 
conclusive proof of Davis' guilt, and wanted him impeached. He also said that if 
the Legislature would not impeach Ames, that he (Ames) would, as soon as Davis 
was found guilty, resign and leave the State in the hands of Stone as Governor. Beck 
says he has not the slightest doubt that old Ben not only meant What he said, but 
that he was able to carry it out. 

They are preparing for a big fight all along our lines. But rather than have it old 
Ben (who has the bills to foot) says that he would bring Ames and Blanche home ; 
and he says he will see to it that Ames shall resign, and that Morton's investigation 
shall be squelched. 

I listened to it, and, very soon after, meeting old Jere Black, while the matter was 
on my mind, I said to him: "Judge, how do you Northern Democrats feel about 
Ames' impeachment?" He replied: "It is a thing we feel pretty anxious about. 
We believe that he deserves it; and if you can prove any 'crooked whisky' on him, 
or any stealing, the impeachment of him would be a proper thing; but if it is for 
some illegal act, or some usurpation of authority, it will have a damaging effect upon us j 
it will be used to show that you resort to violent means for political purposes." . . . 

It seems to me that the Legislature is reluctant to take hold, and is driven on by 
the press. . . . Beck is perfectly confident that we can get all we want without an 
impeachment. He says that old Ben, with all his badness, will stand to his word 
better than any of them. 


It was not until the 2d of March that the articles of impeachment 
were reported in the House. The Senate set the case for trial on the 
29th. On the 28th Gov. Ames addressed to his counsel, Messrs. Durant 
& Pryor, the following letter: 

Executive Mansion, Jackson, March 28, 1876. 

Gerdlemen : In reply to your suggestion I beg to say that, in consequence of the 
election of last November, I found myself confronted with a hostile Ijeaiflature and 
embarrassed and baffled in my endeavors to carry out my plans for the welfare of the 
State and of my party. 

I had resolved, therefore, to resign my office as Governor of the State of Missis- 
sippi, but meanwhile proceedings of impeachment were instituted against me, and, 
of course, T could not and would not retire from my position under the imputation 
of any charge affecting my honor or integrity. 

For the reasons indicated I still desire to escape burdens which are compensated 
by no possibility of public usefulness; and if the articles of impeachment presented 
against me were not pending, and the proceedings were dismissed, I should feel at 
liberty to carry out my desire and purpose of resignation. 

I am very truly yours. Adelbert Ames. 

Messrs. Durant & Pryor, Jackson, Miss. 

On the 29th, in the House before it repaired to the Senate chamber, 
manager Featherston presented this letter and a resolution to the effect 
that the proceedings against the Governor be dismissed. This order 
was made at once. On the same day the Governor resigned ; and thus 
the dominion of the carpetbaggers in Mississippi ended, finally and in- 

From these papers it appears that Gov. Ames was not driven from 
the State a refugee, as President Grant said on several occasions; but 
that, on the contrary, the resignation was probably of Mr. Butler's initi- 
ative. Certainly, unless Gov. Ames misstated his purposes to his own 
counsel, it was resolved upon before the impeachment proceedings were 


Forty-fourth Congress Convenes — Mr. Lamar Chosen Chairman of Caucus — ^The Cau- 
cus Address — Press Comments — Senator Alcorn's Term Expiring — Mr. Lamar Dis- 
cussed as His Successor — Calls from Outside the State — Nominated by Acclamation 
— Speech before the Legislature — Election and Comments on It — The Centennial 
Year — Debate on the Amnesty Bill — Lamar's Centennial Speech — The Scene De- 
scribed — Press Comments — The Belknap Case — Lamar's Speech on Parliamentary 
Privilege — Press Comments — The Hamburg Massacre— Speech and Its Reception — 
Charged with Inconsistency and His Vindication— Speech on the Policy of the Re- 
publican Party and thePolitical Situation in the South. 

THE first session of the Forty-fourth Congress convened on the 6th 
of December, 1875. It was memorable in that it was the first 
Congress in which the Democratic party held substantial power after 
the outbreak of the Civil War. Now for the first time in fifteen years, 
and for the first time since the marvelous transformations of the great 
rebellion, that party was called upon to declare its raison d'etre, and 
was given opportunity to prove itself something higher and better than 
a mere obstructive and self-seeking opposition to the party in power. 

On the Saturday before the 6th the caucus of the Democratic mem- 
bers of the House met. By common consent of Messrs. Kerr, Randall, 
and Cox, the three prominent candidates for the Speakership, and of 
their respective supporters, Mr. Lamar was chosen permanent Chairman 
of the caucus. "His leadership," says Carson in the "History of the 
Supreme Court," " was marked and masterly, and fixed the gaze of the 
nation." On taking his seat he defined the policy and the duty of the 
Democratic party in its partial restoration to power, by the following 
thoughtful and patriotic address: 

Gentlemen: In calling me to this position of responsibility and distinction you have 
conferred an honor which I appreciate most highly, and for which I thank you most 
cordially. We here are confronted with a crisis in the history of the Democratic par- 
ty and of the country, which brings to our party grand opportunities, but is at the 
same time freighted for us with solemn responsibilities; and if we do not improve 
those opportunities and rise to the measure of these responsibilities, the fruits of the 
great political revolution which has brought us here to-day will be for us like the fruit 
which grows upon the shores of the accursed sea. 

The people of this country, by overwhelming majorities of States and of majorities 
in States, have placed the Democratic party, after a long period of exclusion from 
power, in possession of the most important department of the Federal Government. 
"When I say important, I do not mean that the individual members are invested with im- 
posing prerogatives or great personal distinction. The departments of patronage, those 
which hold and command the glittering prizes of governmental emolument and hon- 
ors, are the coordinate branches of the government which are still under the control 
of our political opponents. The members of the House of Representatives have no 
patronage whatever beyond that of the appointment of a military or naval cadet, and 



their compensation is barely adequate to a life of republican simplicity and pruden- 
tial economy. There are many offices in the gift of the Executive far more profita- 
ble, and in the pubUc esteem far more distinguished, than that of a seat in the House 
of Bepresentatives; but this branch is, nevertheless, under our matchless system of 
government, the corner-stone of our fabric of liberty, because it is the only department 
of the Federal Government directly responsible to the people of the country, and re- 
ceiving its powers directly from their hands. All the other branches of the govern- 
ment are two or three degrees removed from the people in the mode of their selection 
or in the nature of their responsibilities; but while the House of Representatives is 
thus immediately responsible to the people, all the other branches of the government 
are responsible to that body. 

The people of the country have charged us, have charged the Democratic party in 
the House of Representatives, with the important duty of bringing these coordinate 
branches of the government to their just responsibility ; and thus, by unerring instinct 
or by keen intelligence, have blended together our duty, our interests, and our inclina- 

There has been for some time in the public mind a conviction, protbund and all- 
pervading, that the civil service of this country has not been directed from considera- 
tions of public good, but from those of party profit, and for corrupt, selfish, and unpa- 
triotic designs. The people demand at our hands a sweeping and thorough reform, 
which shall be conducted in a spirit that will secure the appointment to places of 
trust and responsibility of the honest, the experienced, and the capable. 

There is also an imperative demand that a vigilant examination be made into the 
administration of the public revenue of the country, both in its collection and its 
disbursement; tHat all the public accounts shall be scrutinized by us, as it is the sol- 
emn privilege and duty of the House to do ; and that corruption be ferreted out, and 
wrongdoers, no matter how high or low, shall be fearlessly arraigned and fully exposed 
and punished. 

There is a growing and irresistible sentiment in the country that, under the specious 
theory of protecting and fostering particular industries and interests, a system of mis- 
called revenue laws has been in operation, detrimental and blasting to all the other 
great interests of the country, and maintained at the expense of the general revenue 
and to the injury of a great majority of the people, or of those classes (the farmers and 
laborers) who are least able to bear the burden of oppressive laws. 

One of the highest and most, pressing demands upon us will be, not only to insist 
on bringing down the expenses of the government to the needs only of economical 
administration, but to perfect and adopt such a system of taxation as will bring in the 
required revenue with the fewest restrictions upon commerce and with the least bur- 
den to the people, and that burden equitably distributed and skillfully adjusted. 
Owing to the exigencies of one of those internecine conflicts incident to the life of al- 
most every country, and also to a pernicious system of legislation, our people, our 
business investments, our commerce, and all the diversified interests of the country, 
are suffering from the evils of an irredeemable currency. In meeling and grappling 
with the difficulties of this vital and perplexing question it will be our duty to take 
care that nothing is done which would impair the good faith of the country, or tarnish 
the public honor, or lower or disturb the credit of our government; but we are to re- 
move these obstructions which bar the progress and check the prosperity of the Amer- 
ican republic. 

It is the duty, and it is to be the glory, of the Democratic party while it controls the 
House, to see that the national debt is paid in full, and that the currency of this Dem- 
ocratic republic is made equal with that of any nation on earth. Upon the part of 
those who have been invested with the political power and destiny of our country 
during the last ten or fifteen years, it has been a frequent remark that the era of con- 


stitutional politics had closed ; that questions of constitutional limitations and restric- 
tions were no longer to hinder or delay the legislation of the government in its deal- 
ings with financial, economical, or social subjects, which were, it was assumed, now the 
only matters worthy of public attention ; and yet amidst their grand boastings the 
Forty -third Congress found themselves faced with the gravest questions of constitu- 
tional law, reaching down to the fundamental system and involving not only the 
relations of the States to the Federal Government, but also those of the people and 
their own home governments. 

The grandest aspiration of the Democratic party is, and its crowning glory will be, 
to restore the constitution to its pristine strength and authority, and to make it the 
protector of every section and of every State in the Union and of every human being 
of every race, color, and condition in the land. 

Apprehension and distrust of one part of the nation that that portion of the South- 
ern people who were arrayed against the authority of the Federal Government in 
the late war would be an element of disturbance to the American Union, has mainly 
disappeared; and this is evidenced by your election. In its stead has grown a more 
fraternal feeling, which regards us of the Southern States as fellow-citizens of the same 
great nation ; and, on the other hand, the people of whom I speak (of whom I am one'l 
are here to-day by their chosen representatives, ready to honor any draft which the 
American people may draw upon their patriotism or their faith in the glory and the 
beneficent destiny of American institutions. [Applause.] The experiment which 
has been introduced amongst us, based upon confidence in the workings of local self- 
government and intended to solve the difiioulties connected with the recent social and 
political transformation, shall have an open field and fair play. No hindrance shall 
be placed in the way of its vigorous development and its amplest success. [Applause.] 

It has been said that the day of sentimental politics has passed away ; but, gentle- 
men, there is one part of this Union (that part which I know best) which asks for the 
great moral nutriment to a spirited and noble people. We want a government that 
we can love and revere, and serve from the motive of reverence and love. We hun- 
ger for a patriotism which shall knit all the people together in a generous and loving 
brotherhood, and which shall be as broad as the territory over which the national 
flag floats. Let me say here that no government, no nation, can prosper without this 
vital flre. It is the sentiment which, acting upon free institutions and reacting 
through them upon the people, constitutes their public spirit and political genius. 

Gentlemen, we are here as Democrats, members of a political party which has a 
long, a glorious history. Let us, in our duties this winter, recall and revive those 
principles, the faithful maintenance of which by the fathers of our country secured 
it, for so long a period, the confidence and support of the people. Let us seek to re- 
new the prosperity, to advance the greatness and glory, of our country. Let us 
resolve to win the confidence, the afiection, of the whole American people for our 
party by showing them that we, its present representatives, have statesmanship, pa- 
triotism, and strength of purpose enough, to deserve that confidence and afiection. 
Let us not forget that the great victory of last fall, which brought us here, and which 
gives lis these opportunities and great responsibilities, was achieved, not alone by 
Democratic votes, but with the cooperating' efibrts of patriotic and unselfish men of 
all parties, who, wearied and alarmed by the unceasing evils resulting from corrup- 
tion and maladministration, chose to call us to the duty of checking these evils and 
clearing away these corruptions. If we are wise, we shall so rule ourselves and so 
serve our country as to retain the confidence of these voters. Reforms are urgently 
needed. Let us wisely make them. A renewed prosperity is everywhere earnestly 
desired. Let us, by removing unjust discriminations, by imposing a rigid economy, 
by restoring a sound currency, by securing the equal rights of all States and all peo- 
ple, make the Democratic party the author of a new prosperity. So we may begin 


for our party a new and glorious career, in which its history shall be once more, as 
formerly, the story of the Union's greatest grandeur, and of the people's universal hap- 
piness and contentment. [Great applause.] 

This speech attracted universal attention, and elicited general praises. 
Somewhat of the public opinion will be gathered from the following 
extracts, selected geographically from a great number at hand: 

The New York World: "Mr. Lamar did his work nobly, and his words will arouse 
a cordial and responsive echo Lu every Democratic heart from Maine to Texas, from 
New York to California. He rose easily to the level of the situation, and the temper- 
ate, patriotic words in which, with the applause of all his hearers, he marked out the 
line of Democratic duty and Democratic policy in this eventful hour of the country's 
needs and the party's fortunes will inspire with new faith his fellow-Democrats in all 
parts of the Union, and will quiet the solicitude of many good men who have not 
been able to perceive, as we do, in the principles of Democracy the best promise of 
the permanence of the republic, and of the revival of the prosperity of its people." 

The Evening Post: "A more genuine, conservative, comprehensive, sound, politico- 
economic, and, above all. Union speech could not have been made by Thomas Jeffer- 
son himself, had he appeared in the flesh and moved to address the people he loved 
so well. . . . The country is this day ... as ready to trust Mr. Lamar on the 
financial question as it is ready to trust him with the honor of the Union." . . . 

The ^Z6oraj/ .4rg^8.- "The speech of Mr. Lamar . . . was worthy of the ablest 
statesman of any period of our history. Its every word and sentence prove that the 
accession of the Democracy to power means peace, and a complete wiping out of the war 
issues, the sacredness of the national debt, and a faithful adherence to the guarantees of 
the constitution. This noble speech has met with a response from every section of 
the Union." 

The Philadelphia Times: "Mr. Lamar's epeech , . . was a careful, conservative, 
and statesmanlike utterance, which will increase the esteem in which this able rep- 
resentative of the South is held in all sections of the country.'' 

The Chicago Courier: " If the Democracy of the country had been listening for the 
bold tones of a leader, if the slumbering energies of the grand old party had been 
awaiting a bugle blast, it has come. . . . It is a national voice which ring? upon 
the air in Washington; the voice of a man whose fealty to party binds him in no sec- 
tional harness; a brave and able man, worthy of the best days of the republic.'' . . . 

The San Francisco Chronicle: "There is something in the speech of Gen. L. Q. C. 
Lamar . . . that is calculated to encourage the hope that an era of genuine recon- 
ciliation between the North and the South has at last dawned upon us. Gen. Lamar 
is not a hypocrite, and we feel bound to believe that he spoke from the bottom of 
his heart when he gave utterance to the following patriotic sentiments : ' It is our duty 
as Democrats,' etc. . . . If the ^rit of Lamar's address fairly represents the feeling 
of the Southern Democrats, will not Mississippi show that Lamar did so represent the 
feeling and sentiment of the South by electing him to the Senate? If his utterances 
express their sentiments and picture their mental attitude, the era of a genuine rec- 
onciliation between the North and South is at hand." 

The Sacramento Evening Post: "It was not a bad beginning when the Democrats 
of the House of Representatives made Lamar, of Mississsppi, the Chairman of their 
caucus at Washington. ... He has ever since his election to the House mani- 
fested an admirable constancy and vigor in the interest of reform, both State and na- 
tional. The speech he delivered on taking the chair is full of excellent counsel to 
his party." 

The Sichmond Enquirer : " We have read nothing in a long time emanating from 


any public man more full of pith and meaning, or more pointed and forcible, than 
this brief speech, which will stir the country like a bugle blast, and inspire the 
Democracy with new hope, while it reanimates them with a determination to perse- 
vere in their noble effort to restore the government to a sound constitutional basis." 

The Rocky Mountain (N. 0.) : " It was another laurel leaf in the rhetorical garland 
that now wreathes the brow of this orator-patriot. Sound in doctrine, replete with 
sagacity, tempered in patriotism, and glistening with the brightest flres of eloquence, 
it proved a masterpiece of a master mind." 

The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph and Messenger: "Besides being in the highest degree 
graceful and scholarly, it is inspired with the spirit and rings with the clear tones of 
a broad, elevated, and genial statesmanship, and will find a quick and responsive 
echo in whatever is left of the ancient American thought and feeling in the hearts of 
the people." 

The Jackson (Miss.) Clarion: "His speech was equal to the occasion. On the 
question of the currency, the inviolability of the national faith, the maintenance of 
good will between the sections, it is a timely manifesto in behalf of the party of 
which he was the accredited mouthpiece." 

The Memphis Appeal: "His speech was a model of beauty, eloquence, and fine 
taste. It is overflowing with the wisdom, ideas, sentiments, and convictions of the 
statesman. On this, and indeed on every occasion that Col. Lamar has made his ap- 
pearance before his countrymen, his utterances have made a profound impression. 
Patriotism, genius, eloquence — he possesses them all. He has contributed more than 
any one man in all this broad Union toward securing the present Democratic major- 
ity in the House of Representatives, and there is a universal desire among Democrats 
outside of Mississippi to see the great talents, statesmanship, and patriotism of L. Q. 
0. Lamar transferred to the United States Senate." 

The State of Mississippi, at this period, was represented in the Sen- 
ate of the United States by James L. Alcorn and Blanche K. Bruce, 
both Republicans, the latter a colored man. The term of Senator Al- 
corn was to expire on the 4th of March, 1877, and it devolved on the 
Legislature, before that time, to elect his successor. 

So soon as it was determined to reorganize the Democratic-Conserva- 
tive party, and to make a contest for the possession of the Legislature, a 
discussion began as to the question of the next Senator. Early in 
April the Holly Springs South, then edited by that able lawyer and 
most excellent man, Hon. John W. C. Watson, declared that " our peo- 
ple are fast being roused to a just appreciation of the emergency upon 
us. . . . That model Southern statesman, L. Q. 0. Lamar, will, of 
course, be again returned from his district; but we must also havetiim to 
lead our entire force, by canvassing the State during the summer and 
fall as a candidate for the United States Senate." This article seems 
to have been about the first in the State to voice the sentiment of the 
people in this respect, but Col. Lamar did not make his great canvass 
in the capacity suggested. It was not until after the election in No- 
vember, and the ascertainment of the Democratic-Conservative victory, 
that the senatorial succession became a great and living question in the 
State. Then various gentlemen were suggested as possibilities, most 


conspicuous among whom were Gen. George, Gen. Featherston, and 
Gen. Lowry. 

The papers of the State took up the matter with the greatest zeal. 
The opposition to Mr. Lamar found three principal expressions: First, 
opposition to his course in Congress, especially to his position upon the 
obligation of the constitutional amendments; secondly, the continued 
need of his services in the House; thirdly, the expediency of adding to 
the strength of Mississippi in Congress by sending to the Senate 
some other equally strong man, who should be a colaborer with Mr. 
Lamar in the House. Of course there were the usual and unavoidable 
complications of personal ambitions and the favoritisms of friendship. 

However, the great drift of public opinion, as well as of the popular 
affection, was unmistakably toward Mr. Lamar. A communication to 
the Clarion, which appeared in December, expresses the home ideas on 
the subject so clearly and adequately that it is in part reproduced. The 
article was written, over a nom de plume, by Judge Harris: 

I think that Col. Lamar should be elected. The opinion is based, not upon a personal 
partiality for him over all others, but upon a well-matured and, I think, unprejudiced 
conviction that it is the right thing to be done. The great oflBce of Senator is a trust, 
and not a perquisite. It is to be bestowed upon considerations of public good, and 
not of personal liking, or even of personal services; though upon this score none can 
exceed those of Col. Lamar. Mississippi has many fine lawyers, gallant soldiers, 
able jurists, and worthy citizens; she has but one distinguished statesman. . . . 
The State should have its foremost man in the foremost place, not in order to reward 
him, but to obtain the best services for herself. That his opportunities have been 
greater for acquiring fame should not diminish the reward of that feme honestly won. 
The day that Col. Lamar takes his seat in the Senate he ranks at once with Thurman 
and Bayard, and when he rises to make his first speech the whole nation will listen. 
The ablest of his competitors cannot hope to win the same weight and influence in less 
than five years. But it is not true that Lamar's greatness is accidental, or that it has 
been won without competition. He was confessedly Mississippi's greatest statesman, 
after Davis and Brown, when the war broke out, and he won that reputation at a time 
when all the talent of the State was unfettered to contend with him. He left the old 
Congress at the age of thirty-six, with a fame established throughout the Union as 
the most philosophical thinker and the most eloquent orator in the lower branch 
of that body from the South. Col. Lamar's election is earnestly desired by the Dem- 
ocrats of the North. His defeat will be regarded in that section as the repudiation by 
us of those sentiments of fraternity and conciliation of which he has been the most 
conspicuous advocate. As such, it will be universally deplored by our friends and 
seized upon by our enemies. . . . With reganl to services, I will only say that 
those of no man surpassed Col. Lamar's, in point of labor, zeal, or effectiveness, in the 
late canvass. I doubt whether there was a man in the State who made more speeches. 
There was certainly no man who made abler ones. But the incomparable service 
which he rendered was before the canvass and outside of the State. He has done 
more than any living man — and Horace Greeley alone is excepted among the dead— 
to produce that state of popular feeling at the North which made Ulysses Grant 
afraid to lay his hands upon us during the late election. It was that sentiment that 
enabled us to win. To Lamar, more than any other one man, was this feeling due. 
Without it we could not have succeeded. 


It was not only in the State that the question was earnestly discussed. 
The attention of the nation was riveted on the issue. The utterances of 
Mr. Lamar in Congress had, to a great extent, taken the wind out of the 
sails of the political agitators, so far as the so-called Southern questions 
were concerned, and their most promising remaining resource was to 
avoid the moral effect of his course, by discounting him as a man not 
representative of his people. True, that people had indorsed him by res- 
olutions, but resolutions were words. Would they give the final indorse- 
ment of election? From all the Union the demand came. 

The Memphis Appeal, December 1, said : "It is not too mach to say that to Col. La- 
mar, more than to any other one Southern man, is due the dawn and development of 
that kindly Northern feeling for the people of the South which President Grant was 
afraid to defy when Ames called upon him for troops with which to control the elec- 
tions. Next to the unconquerable heroism of her people, it is to this feeling that Mis- 
sissippi owes her freedom. Lamar struck the keynote of the canvass. Mississippi 
went into the canvass upon the principles which his Congressional career had so bril- 
liantly illustrated, and with a resolution of cordial indorsement of that career appended 
to her platform. His defeat now, in the hour of victory, would be construed by our 
enemies and deplored by our friends at the North as a partial lowering, at least, of 
that high tone of restored nationality upon which the canvass was made. His elec- 
tion would be hailed throughout the nation as a fitting consummation of the remark- 
able victory which it would so appropriately crown." And again, December 11 : " The 
noble bearing of Col. Lamar, amidst the enthusiastic applause of an admiring nation, 
shows the grandeur of the man's character. It has not inspired him with ambition. 
He opposes the use of his name in regard to th^ Vice Presidency. The only ambi- 
tion he has exhibited is to save the country from the perils of sectional hate. He is 
ambitious to tranquillize an estranged people, to restore peace between the sections, 
peace between the races, fraternal peace between those who love the constitution and 
would cement the Union in the indissoluble bonds of a common brotherhood. His 
ambition consists in an earnest desire to see the States accordant, sections reconciled, 
the rights of all the people preserved, with the honor of none tarnished or destroyed, 
and to preserve the legacy of our free constitutional government unimpaired. The 
defeat of such a man as a candidate for United States Senator would fill the American 
people with wonder and amazement." 

The New Orleans Picayune : " The interests and the cause of Lamar in this election 
are the interests and the cause, not only of the State of Mississippi, but of Louisiana 
and of the South, and of the Democracy at large. There has been no name in Amer- 
ica used with more power to turn the Northern people from their madness and hos- 
tility to the South than the name of Lamar in the last two elections. He seems to 
be almost, if not quite, the only Southern man who has won a hearing for his peo- 
ple before the tribunal of Northern opinion. Without sacrificing an iota in his de- 
fense and advocacy of our rights, he has become the accepted type of the conserva- 
tive and conciliatory Southern Democrat. . . . He has become, like Thurman, a 
kind of national necessity to the Democrats ; and, like Thurman, he ought to be in 
the Senate." . 

The New York Herald : " Mr. Lamar's influence throughout the State, and his bold 
and determined attitude at the Democratic State Convention, defeated the color line 
movement, . . . which threatened to create a reign of terror in the State. For 
this defeat the extremists have not forgiven Col. Lamar.'' And again: "Our Wash- 
ington correspondent speaks of the strong desire felt by the Democrats of both Houses 
to see Mr. Lamar elected to the Senate from Mississippi. In this they are wise. Col. 


Lamar's name is kndwn and respected all over the country; he is accounted one of 
the ablest and most statesmanlike of the Democrats, and his defeat would be a calam- 
ity to Mississippi, and would be regretted by the country." 

The Boston Herald : " It is to be hoped that Mr. Lamar will be sustained by his 
State, and elected to the Senate. He is one of the most progressive men in the South, 
and is so recognized among Northern men who want to see the affairs of the nation 
settled on the basis of equal rights and local self-government. . . . Mr. Lamar is 
as true as steel. He would not abate a jot in demanding every right of the South ; 
and he would be influential in securing every right, because he is progressive and pa- 

The foregoing extracts are fair samples of very many other such ed- 
itorials from papers of both parties, all over the Union. The Herald 
and others overestimated the intensity, and misjudged to a great extent 
the motive, of what opposition existed to the election of Mr. Lamar; 
but none the less was it true that, if he had failed, the conclusions drawn 
from that failure by the Northern people would have been such as they 

However, he did not fail. When the Democratic-Conservative cau- 
cus met, on the night of January 6, before the taking of any ballot the 
name of the last opponent was withdrawn by his friends, and Mr. La- 
mar was nominated by acclamation, " with great enthusiasm, and with- 
out a dissenting voice." 

On the following night, by invitation of the Legislature, he delivered 
an address in the hall of the House of Representatives, which was de- 
scribed by the newspapers as " one of the happiest efforts of his life." 
Of this address, the Pilot, the organ of Gov. Ames, and therefore a Re- 
publican paper of the strongest, said that 

The Senator explained his eulogy on the death of Charles Sumner. He said that 
when he first took his seat in Congress he saw that his situation as a Southern Repre- 
sentative was a delicate and diflBcult one. The people of the North suspected the mo- 
tives of the people of the South, and no Southern man could reach the Northern ear. 
Just at this time a brilliant Northern man, one dear to the Northern people, departed 
this life; and it occurred to him that while the Northern heart was shaded and soft- 
ened with sorrow he might deliver a message of sympathy from the South, and at the 
same time establish her in the affection of the North. He meant every word that he 
spoke on that occasion. Charles Sumner imagined that he was acting in the cause of 
humanity and freedom when he advocated universal suffrage. He knew that his Sum- 
ner speech might be misconstrued; but he took his reputation in his own hands for 
the good of his country, meant every word that he said, and believed every word per- 
fectly true. 

Could a challenge be more explicitly accepted? And on the 19th, 
twelve days later, with his reiteration of his Sumner speech fresh upon 
his lips, he was elected, in pursuance of his nomination by the caucus, 
by a vote, on joint ballot, of 114 out of 138. The only Democratic- 
Conservative votes not cast for him were some which were defectively 
written, apparently through carelessness. Several of these were the 
ballots of his stanchest friends. 


Thei'e was general acquiescence in Mr. Lamar's election, embracing 
even those who had opposed him. The Meridian Mercury, for instance, 
which it will be remembered was one of the papers that assailed him 
because of the Sumner speech, said: 

The nomination of Lamar to the United States Senate accords with the fitness of 
things. It is a result of deliberation and judgment upon the platform of his record 
and national reputation, with design to further peace and reconciliation between the 
lately belligerent pections. ..." Peace hath its victories no less renowned than 
war;" and Lamar's achievements already accomplished in the direction of a peaceful 
conquest of peace are more glorious, if not more brilliant, than his high and daring 
deeds in the bloody fray. He has nobly conquered his own prejudices, and his elec- 
tion signifies, and was intended to signify, that he has conquered ours, and leads them 
captive, to lay upon the altar of peace this Centennial year. 

The Vichshurg Herald, which had opposed his election to the last, " not 
because he was too national for it, but because we wanted two of his cal- 
iber in Congress, instead of one," said: 

The influence of the national Democratic party was clearly felt in Col. Lamar's fa- 
vor, and we cannot now say that our party did not do right in responding to it. 
. . . The party in the State has given him unlimited confidence, and showered 
honor on him. We firmly believe that he will in the future, as in the past, prove 
himself worthy of them. 

In truth it now seemed as if the sweet spirit of peace were brooding 
over the land. The Centennial year had opened. It brought hallowed 
and vivid reminiscences of the winning of liberty through sorrow and 
blood and rebellion. It brought forcible reminders of increased and in- 
creasing national glory and stability, notwithstanding other sorrows, 
blood, and rebellion. It brought stirring suggestions of future perils 
and future blessings, these to be secured and those to be avoided only 
by a closer union and a most fraternal love between all sections of this 
great country. It seemed as if the permanent subsidence of angry pas- 
sions was at hand. 

In the House of Representatives, on the 6th of Jan uary, a 'bill was 
reported from the proper committee making an appropriation of a mil- 
lion and a half dollars in aid of the Centennial Exposition to be held at 
Philadelphia. That report and the reference of the bill to the House 
in Committee of the Whole were followed by the offering, by Mr. New, 
of Indiana, of a resolution to the effect that " the fraternal feeling and 
good will now existing in all sections of the United States, and the 
manifest disposition and purpose of the men who battled against each 
other in the late civil war to join hands as one people in the future, is 
a most auspicious ushering in of the centennial year; and while the 
people are thus making an honest effort to live together in peace and 
Uphold the same flag for an undivided country, their representatives in 
Congress should do no act which will unnecessarily disturb the patri- 


otic concord now existing and increasing, or wantonly revive the bitter 
memories of the past." 

This resolution was adopted unanimously; bixt alas for the incon- 
stancy of human virtue! in four days the House was embroiled in one 
of its fiercest rows. 

In preceding Congresses efforts had been made to pass bills of am- 
nesty whereby the political disabilities imposed by the fourteenth 
amendment should be removed. In 1869-70 Mr. Cox had introduced a 
bill without any exceptions, which was lost in the House, not receiving 
the needed two-thirds vote. At the following session Gen. Butler offered 
a similar bill with many exceptions to the amnesty, however, which passed 
the House, but was lost in the Senate. At the first session of the Forty- 
third Congress another bill without any exceptions, unanimously re- 
ported by the committee, had been passed by the House; but again it 
was defeated in the Senate. In this Congress, following the examples 
theretofore set, Mr. Randall on December 15 introduced a bill to the 
same end. It came up for consideration on the 10th of January. Mr. 
Blaine offered an amendment excepting Jefferson Davis from the am- 
nesty. He justified this step in his speeches, not by Mr. Davis' alleged 
political offenses, not because of the fact that he was the chief of the 
Confederacy, but by his alleged personal crimes in the maltreatment of 
Union soldiers in the prison at Anderson villa. Other supporters of 
the amendment, however, insisted upon the political offense. This 
amendment and the grounds assigned for it precipitated a most rancor- 
ous debate of four days, in which Mr. Cox and Mr. Hill, of Georgia, 
bore prominent parts. The bill failed to pass. 

" The debate on the Amnesty Bill," said the Nation of January 20, " was certainly 
Tinfortunate, both in matter and manner. It consisted mainly of a game of recrimina- 
tion between Northern and Southern politicians, in which both sides were very vul- 
nerable. Without meaning in any way to palliate or excuse the speeches and reso- 
lutions produced by Mr. Hill, of Georgia, or anybody else at the South during the war, 
we may mention that there are but few Northern members of Congress whose speeches 
will bear being dragged to the light and read in the calm of our own time. There was 
a great deal of ferocious and extravagant language uttered in Washington, as well as 
in Richmond, which its authors would now either be ashamed of or not care to own. 
. . . Is there not something absolutely childish, if not mischievous, in bandying 
contradictions in a legislative body over what I said anl what he said ten or fifteen 
years ago in the midst of a conflict long ended, over questions fully settled, and, as fer 
as human eye can see, settled forever? " etc. 

It does not follow, however, that because the debate took such a turn 
it was without serious import. Many thoughtful and patriotic people in 
the South, as well as in the North, felt that the whole movement and the 
debate were a great blunder, morally and politically. The Clarion well 
expressed this sentiment on the 19th of January. It said: 

It was a chapter of blunders from beginning to end — from its untimely introduc- 
tion at the present session to its melancholy close— and a blunder at this stage of the 


Presidential contest by those to whom the fortunes and liopes of the party of reform 
are confided, is equal to a crime. 

Knowing the eagerness of the unscrupulous managers of the Eepublican party to 
obtain capital for the impending campaign ; knowing the readiness with which they 
would appropriate opportunities to that end ; knowing that they had nothing under 
heaven on which to build a hope of defeating the Democratic party in the Presiden- 
tial election except a revival of the sectional issues, ... we cannot imagine what 
prompted Mr. Eandall, who is reputed to be a sagacious leader, to thrust the subject 
upon the House of Representatives at this time and under the circumstances. . . . 

The second blunder was the speech of Mr. Hill, of Georgia. As Byron's dreamer 
said to the spirit, what business had it there at such a time? It was able, trenchant, 
eloquent, and, in some points, overwhelming. It was a victory of Hill over Blaine, of 
the Southern side over the Northern side on the topics introduced. But we are lost 
if many such victories are won at the present session by the " Confederates," as the 
Southern Democratic representatives in Congress are termed by their opponents. . . . 

The New York Herald called Mr. Hill's speech a boomerang, and said 
that it " was felt to be injudicious." 

The St. Louis Republic declared that " Blaine expects to reap more 
benefit from the replies to his speech than from the speech itself; in 
other words, he hoped to make the ex-Confederates so angry that they 
would sink all discretion and return the attack in kind." 

The Chicago Times, then an independent paper of pronounced Ish- 
maelistic habit, had, amongst other things, these most extravagant re- 
marks, which, with others of like kind in other papers, lent color to the 
foregoing suggestions: 

The very point aimed at by Blaine in taking up the Confederate challenge was 
completely gained. The fire of the Confederates was drawn. The Confederate party 
was brought out of its ambush and made to parade itself before the country in all the 
spread-eagle tinselry of the rebel regimentals; waving aloft the old banner of South 
ern braggadocio ; cracking the old slave driver's whip about the ears of " Northern 
mudsills;" swaggering in the old style of plantation manners; hurling the old epi- 
thets of copper-bottom Bourbon bigotry against " Northern fanaticism ; " lauding in 
the old way the superiority of " Southern gentlemen," with their bowie knives and 
ruffianism ; proclaiming anew the old insolence of a braggart self-conceit; rending the 
innocent air with the old " rebel yell," etc. 

It was noted and commented upon in the Southern press that, at the 
time when Mr. Blaine was preparing his onslaught upon the South in 
Washington, Mr. Lamar, in Jackson, was reafiirming his eulogy over 
the dead Sumner; and that, while Eadical papers were publishing edi- 
torials like that of the Chicago Times, the " Confederate " Legislature of 
Mississippi were unanimously and by acclamation preferring him to 
the United States Senate on his platform of "My countrymen! know 
one another, and you will love one another." 

Such was the condition of affairs when Mr. Lamar returned to Wash- 
ington. There was work cut out for him to do, and he did it quickly. 
On the 17th of January the Centennial Appropriation Bill was called up. 


It was quite freely debated, and the opposition to it was formidable. 
Amongst other objections interposed to the bill, question was made of 
the power of Congress, under the constitution, to pass such a measure. 
Mr. Townsend, of New York, advocated the appropriation; but in his 
speech indulged very much in sarcasms and gibes, directed mainly 
against the Southern members, and filled with allusions to the debate 
on the Amnesty Bill. On the 25th Mr. Lamar spoke in favor of the 
bill.* The making of his speech and the effect of it were thus de- 
scribed by a correspondent of the Chicago Times itself: 

Although Lamar's purpose of joining in the Centennial debate was an afterthought, 
suggested and urged by friends of the bill, he had hardly risen in his place when the 
hall and galleries, which had become empty and demoralized, filled up and quieted 
to almost painful intensity. A scene almost as passionately sensational as that which 
marked the first two days of the amnesty debate followed. . . . The appearance of La- 
mar meant something. It was known that impulsive efforts had been made to induce 
him to revive the amnesty discussion and give himself an opportunity to put his 
Southern brethren in a less antagonistic position to Northern sentiment. . . . He 
was known to have deprecated all revivals of them, and to have counseled his own 
folks to bide their time, that their acts might show the world that Hill was not speak- 
ing the Southern sentiment. 

When, therefore, his slim form and pale face appeared over the Republican benches, 
profound silence fell upon the House. All signs of inattention and weariness were 
swept from the faces on the floor and the gallery. There was no occasion for the 
Speaker's gavel. The audience could fairly hear itself breathe as his splendid elo- 
quence forced itself forth. At the drawing of seats Lamar's luck brought him among 
the Republicans and side by side with Banks. His movements are, therefore, more 
marked. Sitting, as it were, among adversaries, his first movements on addressing 
the House have a sort of self-distrusting timidity of utterance and manner which fas- 
cinates attention. So soon as his voice, which is not sustained in register, is generally 
audible, he is then sure of complete attention so long as he chooses to speak. He em- 
ployed no notes, but a clear, crystal stream of sentiment, soberly toned by acute rea- 
soning, fell from his lips for just an hour and a half, in which more was said than in 
the previous seven days on the same subject. He apologized for speaking, saying 
that he had no thought of taking part until within a short, time, but that his heart 
and head approved of some word on the pending bill and some questions germane 
thereto. This was followed by a rapid, exhaustive rismni of the constitutionality of 
the measure, bringing in some of the strongest arguments against the pet doctrines of 
State rights held by some of the more untamed Confederates so far employed in 

As he went on, discriminating with analytical grasp the constitutional aspects of 
the question involved, the attention which he excited because of his peculiar position 
was changed into absorbed interest. In vigorous crystallization of law, logic, and rea- 
son, by which his faith was justified, he appealed only to reason. There was no clap- 
trap invoked. Blaine had been heard with glistening eyes, clinched hands, and 
grinding teeth ; with repugnance, indignation, and incredulity ; but this man, nursing 
almost the same themes, asked only the rational judgment of his hearers, and resort- 
ed to no surprises in argument or tricks in expression to recommend his reasoning to 
the House. . . . The Republicans listened in stupefaction. Had wisdom finally 
come upon the Confederates? Here was a man who had battled for the cause now 

"Appendix, Ko. 11. 


grounding arms and showing unanswerable cause for the civil as well as the military 
surrender. Ready, audacious, self-reliant, his piercing eyes fixed upon men who op- 
posed his arguments, he poured out an exposition of nationalism and constitutional- 
ism which equaled in effect one of Webster's masterpieces. 

Remembering this man's place, the real leader of the South politically and the suc- 
cessor of Davis in the Senate, the scene was in every respect the most surprising re- 
cently witnessed in this House of revolutions and surprises. He went square to the 
root of the State rights argument. . . . "Not a nation?" he asked, throwing his fine 
head back and raising his arms ; " a people who repelled again and again foreign in- 
vasion, who equipped navies, who accoutered the most tremendous armies the world 
ever saw, who conducted four years of civil war and who recovered from it — not a na- 
tion? Can any man read the record and deny the majestic sovereignty of our nation- 
ality?" The House, which followed line and precept with immovable attention, 
burst into prolonged applause. 

It was the testimony of jurists present that as an argument the constitutional part 
of the speech was the most clearly put and the most coherent recently delivered in 
either House. "While the keenest attention of the House was still fastened upon him, 
and the weight of his argument had visibly taken its intended efiect, Lamar passed 
to another theme. He singled out Townsend, who made such a capital speech last 
week, to deliver a word of reproach. That gentleman, conscious of what was coming, 
began to laugh complacently as Lamar alluded to his jocose comments on the per 
sonal appearances of ex-Confederates ; but his laugh died out and chagrin took its 
place as the speaker, with measured, almost pathetic, accents, reminded him of the 
mischievous results of his Preston Brooks allusions. It was not friendly. It was not 
patriotic. It was not decent. The noble American who sufiered wrong at the hands 
of Brooks left his sentiments on record, and these sentiments should shame those 
who seek to perpetuate discords and enmities that were buried ten years ago. 

No conception of the real effectiveness of Lamar's utterances can be given by the 
cold language of comment. Blaine, tightly squeezed between both hands until noth- 
ing but hair, nose, and mouth were discernible, colored visibly, dropped his eyes be- 
fore Lamar's gaze, and moved restlessly in his seat. Townsend, whose face is nat- 
'urally a flame, coughed irresolutely, turned in his seat, and looked the very .picture 
of discomfort. Judged by its effect on the House and the comment of the town, the 
speech was the most masterful in moderation, exhaustive in argument, and captivating 
■in method so far delivered. It told on every soul. 

Of this speech the Clarion, which was then the official journal of the 
State, said: 

Col. Lamar's good fortune has not deserted him. His speech was one of those for- 
tunate strokes by which he has illustrated, in his own wonderful career as a statesman 
■since his advent into the national councils, the maxim that peace hath her victories 
no less renowned than war. On Col. Lamar, more than any man, or all others com- 
bined, the hopes of the people who have suffered from the prescriptive rule of a vin- 
dictive party are centered ; and we are rejoiced at the accumulating evidences that he 
will not prove unequal to his grand mission. 

The Vicksburg Herald said : " Senator Lamar's speech on the Centennial has electri- 
fied the nation. Not so much because he favored the appropriation for the celebra- 
-tion, which was meet and proper, but because he touched upon the vital questions of 
national sovereignty. If we understand his position aright, and we think we do, he 
occupies the position fully indorsed by his party in this State, and which should be 
held by the national Democratic party. It is simply that the power of the nation is 
superior to that of any of the States, and that national sovereignty is superior to State 
sovereignty. If the war settled anything, it certainly settled this question. The the- 


ories as to the manner in which the nation was formed by separate sovereign States 
amount to nothing since the decision of the sword that the power and authority of 
the central government shall be supreme. Mr. Lanaar accepts this fact, and the Dem- 
ocrats of this State fully approve his course. 

" Col. Lamar so astonished many of the Northern people that the Cincinnati Com- 
mercial is very anxious to know how his speech wiU be received. In regard to it that 
journal has the following comments : 

" ' It is now said that Representative Lamar's later speech advocating the Centen- 
nial Appropriation Bill . . . was made to neutralize the prejudicial effects of Ben 
Hill's effort, and that Mr. Lamar is not sincere. But we are not of this opinion. ... 
We shall be curious to note what sort of a reception is given to his speech in Missis- 
sippi and other Southern States. Will it be welcomed and praised as Ben Hill's was? 
That is doubtful. Hill'.s speech was carefully measured and adapted to prejudices and 
passions which he wished to please. Lamar's is rather designed to soften and remove 
them, and to substitute for them the higher idea of nationality and a conviction that 
the day for the indulgence in the worship of State sovereignty and sectional vanities 
is over. This sort of doctrine has not been popular in the South, but with men of the 
force and eloquence of Lamar to proclaim it there is a hope that in time it may be- 
come so.' 

" The Herald's views of Mr. Lamar's course may be easily judged from this article, 
and the Herald is regurded in this State as the extreme white line Democratic journal. 
It opposed to the last Mr. Lamar's election to the Senate, not because he was too n.;- 
tional for it, but because we wanted two of his caliber in Congress instead of one. 
We are, therefore, certainly not prejudiced in his favor when we say: 'Well done, 
thou good and faithful servant! ' " 

The LouisoUle Courier-Journal said : " Since his reappearance in Congress, Mr. Lamar 
has certainly displayed more political acumen, of an active and practical description, 
than any of his contemporaries; and as a consequence of useful and brilliant public 
service, he has been rewarded by a return to the Senate, made by the unanimous 
vote of his party, and by a position at Washington and over the country at large, re- 
minding us of that period in our political history of which we are in the habit of 
observing with a reverential and pardonable vanity, 'There were giants in those 
days.' . . . The South should not allow itself to be chilled out of its nationality by 
the sectionalism of a politic-al organization whose stock in trade is its venom and our 
folly. The people of this country are Americans all, and, rid of the middlemen, we 
shall come together, soon or late, upon common interests, being already inspired by a 
natural and inevitable good will. This, whenever it has a chance to show itself, 
whether at Boston or at Eichmond, is never slow to show that the blood and bone, 
sense and sinew, of this country are all right, and only too ready to be knit to- 
gether. The one man from the South in public life who has seen and recognized 
the truth in all its bearings, and who, without stultifying his convictions or com- 
promising his personality, has followed its counsels, is Lamar. He began his life as 
an enthusiast, and by necessity as an impracticable. He has gone on from grace to 
grace through manifold misfortunes, until he has reached — shall we say it? — perfec- 
tion. . . . The latest exploit of this singularly fortunate and rarely gifted man was 
his far-seeing, right-hearted, patriotic, and courageous support of the Centennial ap- 
propriation. It is admitted that he saved the bill. . . . The Southern Democrats never 
exhibited their lack of political intuition so lamentably and so preposterously as upon 
the Centennial vote. It was their opportunity to wipe out the amnesty muddle and 
make even, and more than even, on the Republicans. But only Lamar and fifteen oth- 
ers saw it They rescued the House, the country, and their party from the ignominy 
of a defeat which would have covered America in blushes and have signified to dis- 
cerning people all the world over the beginning of the end, and that through Radical 


devices ruinous to the South. The secret of Lamar's success is so simple that it ought 
to be more easily understood and its plan more readily copied by the ambitious poli- 
ticians of the new South. With a perfect knowledge of the political literature of his 
country, including the ethics of its constitution, Lamar is an orator of surprising 
readiness and power, who has caught the changed spirit, the altered phraseology, and 
the peculiar exigencies of the time, and has applied these to the business which is 
given him to do. He sees that there is a new way much better than the old way to 
pay off ancient liabilities, and he is not blind to the fact that there are debts not 
dreamed of in the philosophy of the last generation. He seeks to be useful, he is not 
afraid to open his mouth ; and he takes to things that are, not to things that were." 

The New York Herald: " Mr. Lamar made a speech which will add to his own fame, 
and be received at the North as an expression of good feeling on the part of the South, 
to be reciprocated by many kindly words and and acts." 

The New York Tribune : " Col. Lamar's speech to-day was one of the ablest he has 
ever made in the House. . . . His speech to-day places him in the front rank as 
a debater of constitutional questions." 

On the 29th of February the Committee on Expenditures in the War 
Department undertook the investigation of a charge against Gen. W. 
W. Belknap, the Secretary of War, of accepting bribes for the disposal 
of a post-tradership. Pending that investigation, after appearing before 
the committee and hearing the testimony it had taken, the Secretary 
on the 2d of March resigned, and his resignation was at once ac- 
cepted by the President and notified to the committee. Thereupon the 
committee immediately, by Mr. Clymer, its Chairman, reported to the 
House, setting forth the fact of the resignation and recommending that 
the Secretary be impeached, that the testimony be referred to the Ju- 
diciary Committee with instructions to report suitable articles of im- 
peachment, and that a committee of five be appointed to proceed to the 
bar of the Senate and prefer the charges. 

This rep^ort induced a debate of some acrimony. It was claimed that 
since the Secretary had resigned there was no longer any jurisdiction 
to impeach him. Question was made of the President's motive in ac- 
cepting his resignation with such " unprecedented, not to say indecent, 
haste." It was discussed whether the proceeding against the Secretary 
was or was not a political issue, etc. However, the resolutions offered 
by the committee were unanimously adopted and the testimony was or- 
dered to be printed in the Congressional Becord. 

On the next day, at 1 p.m., the special committee of the House appeared 
at the bar of the Senate and discharged the duty imposed on it. The 
Senate thereupon resolved that it would "take proper order thereon." 

On the 7th Mr. Clymer rose to a question of privilege. He stated to 
the House that on tbe day before he and other members of the commit- 
tee had been summoned before the Supreme Court of the District of 
Columbia, in criminal session, by a subpoena requiring them to bring all 
books, papers, etc., in their possession, or in possession of the commit- 
tee, in relation to the charge against Gen. Belknap of accepting bribes 


while Secretary of War, there to testify in behalf of the United States; 
that he had called to the attention of the Court the fact that such a pro- 
ceeding would have a tendency to close the mouths of all witnesses be- 
fore the Congressional Committee, and even to drive them from the land. 
Mr. Clymer then submitted the matter to the House for such action as 
it might deem necessary, right, and just. 

Mr. Bobbins, of North Carolina, one of the committee, said: 

I say to you, Mr. Speaker, and to this House, that the inevitable effect of our being 
required to testify as to what transpires in the sessions of our committee before a grand 
jury or anywhere else will be, as the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Clymer] 
has stated, to intimidate witnesses, to stop their mouths, and throttle all further in- 
vestigations. I say here that if it is not the design it certainly will be the result of the 
course now being taken by certain officials of this district, under the promptings of 
the head of the government, to break down investigations by shutting the mouths of 
witnesses. If that is not the purpose, it is the effect, unless this House takes the mat- 
ter in hand and provides for the protection (not of us; we need no protection; we 
have nothing to withhold or conceal as committeemen) — the protection of the toit- 
nesses who shall come before us. 

Later Mr. Blackburn, of Kentucky, also one of the committee, said: 

I am not surprised, sir, at the uneasiness manifested and the nervousness displayed 
by the gentleman from Maine [Mr. Blaine], who seeks to inject his speeches into 
every man's utterances on this side of the House. Did I hold the same questionable 
position in this matter as gentlemen on the other side by reason of the complicity of 
their prominent officials, I at least would be disposed to sympathize with him and 
share his apprehensions. 

I do not like to charge that it is the purpose of the Executive of this country to in- 
timidate witnesses, to throttle investigation, and to afford immunity from punish- 
ment to publicly convicted criminals. But I do say this: that this is the result, and 
unless this gag process is stopped the country will believe, and I will believe, that 
such is the purpose. [Cries of " O ! O ! " from the Republican side of the House.] 

Ifc will be seen from the foregoing statement that while this investi- 
gation was treated in certain aspects as one not of party politics, yet 
the discussion of it had taken such a turn that party passions were more 
or less aroused, and the motives and actions of certain Republican lead- 
ers, including the President, were brought directly into question. 

With his usual conservatism and wise moderation Mr. Lamar did not 
enter upon these discussions. His speech was confined to a question of 
parliamentary privilege.* So far as he touched upon the disputations 
he rebuked them; giving, in passing, a stroke at Mr. Blaine because of 
his later course in view of Presidential aspirations. He said: 

All this debate, with all the passion that has been flung in here, is irrelevant, and 
simply tends to convert a jjure question of constitutional and parliamentary law into 
an idle logomachy, a war of words and of passion which can but obscure the issue. . . . 

I came forward with a resolution which states all the circumstances and then sim- 
ply asserts the jurisdiction of this House over the subject-matter, over the person, 

'Appendix, No. 12. 


over the papers in this great impeachment trial, the most august and imposing trial 
known to the constitution and laws of our country, in the presence of which these 
passions, these thoughts about Presidential succession and party triumph, actually, sir, 
fatigue my contempt. 

The result of the debate was the passage of Mr. Lamar's resolution, 
by which the committee and its members were directed to disregard 
the subpoena until the further orders of the House. 

Of this debate, and Mr. Lamar's part in it, the correspondent of the 
Cincinnati Enquirer said: 

For the first time in his congressional career, Blaine was to-day completely flattened 
-out and squelched. He had arranged a programme for defending the action of the 
President and the Attorney-General in trying to get the Belknap case out of the 
hands of the House. . . . Mr. Hoar ofiered this programme as an amendment to 
the resolution of the Democrats, which was presented by Mr. Lamar. Then the bat- 
tle began. At the proper moment, after several of the " small fry " had made their cut- 
and-dried speeches, Blaine took the floor, and, in his customary bullying, insolent 
style, attempted to overwhelm all opposition, and scare the Democrats into conces- 
sion to Hoar's amendment. Blaine's design was to call out some indiscreet remarks 
ftom the Democratic side, and then throw the House into a barroom mdlSe, as he did 
in the Andersonville debate; but when he had finished, Lamar rose. Lamar is the 
coolest man on the Democratic side. No taunts can annoy him; no bullying or inso- 
lence disturbs his equanimity. In reply to Blaine's frantic bullying, he coolly began 
to read the law governing such cases, together with several decisions and precedents. 
He made no comment by way of preface, except to say that he would show Mr. 
Blaine to be utterly ignorant of the law and utterly unmindful of the precedents in 
regard to the matter, and that before he (Lamar) got through he would subject him 
(Blaine) to the ridicule of his opponents and the pity of his friends. The result was 
a most complete and abject humiliation of the Kennebec bully and the utter explo- 
sion of his programme. The whole affair was admirably managed by the Demo- 
crats, and Mr-. Lamar deserves great credit for the masterly way in which he led the 
fray. The expression among the Democrats to-night is universal that Lamar is the 
safest and most adroit leader that could be selected. He is the only man who has 
succeeded in flooring Blaine. 

From many other newspaper notices of this debate the following is 
given because of its animated style and its pointed application, which 
is worth remembering. The extract is from an editorial in a New York 
paper, evidently Democratic in politics, but the name of which, unfor- 
tunately, does not appear on the clipping: 

Tlie Fall, of Blaine. — Mr. S. S. Cox has recently published a bright and amusing 
book, called "Why We Laugh," in which he has gathered together a wonderful num- 
ber of good political stories, not without a purpose. But nothing in his book gives so 
satisfactory an answer to the question asked by its title as the last week's simple his- 
tory of the decline and fall of that great Republican emperor, Blaine, of Maine. ... 
If any one of a dozen Eepublican members of Congress who might be named had put 
himself in the way of getting so severe a trouncing as Mr. Lamar was forced to ad- 
minister to Mr. Blaine on a question of constitutional law during the debate which 
resulted in the impeachment of Belknap, his Republican colleagues might have been 
secretly amused; but they would probably have been able to suppress their mirth out 
of a fellow-feeling with the victim. But when Mr. Lamar, calmly, coolly, almost sweet- 
ly, led the unhappy Blaine steadily onward from blunder to blunder until, with Wal- 


lace'e " Supreme Court Reports " in hand, he daintily but decisively turned him over 
suddenly, and once for all, on his back, and laid him floundering in a mess of adjec- 
tives on the floor, the bonds of party sympathy itself gave way like wisps of straw, 
and the Republicans joined as heartily as the Democrats in the Homeric laughter 
which followed. Mr. Lamar's treatment of Blaine on that occasion has been com- 
pared by some of the picturesque correspondents of the press to the playing of a cat 
with a mouse. So far as the image expresses the intellectual superiority of the victor 
over the victim, it is correct enough ; but the cat which worries a mouse undoubt- 
edly takes pleasure in the worrying. . . . Mr. Lamar was obviously sorry, on the 
contrary, to find himself compelled to worry Blaine. He gave the arrogant member 
from Maine, not one, but a dozen chances to escape from the false position into which 
he had inconsiderately and vaingloriously thrust himself; and even at the end, when 
Blaine's persistency made it impossible for him to rescue himself or to be rescued by 
anybody else, Mr. Lamar, with unruffled temper, and in a soft, low, almost rom])as- 
sionate voice, turned to the House, as a generous gladiator in the Roman arena might 
have turned to the crowded amphitheater when his foe lay nnsworded and un- 
shielded at his feet, and called for the verdict of the thumbs. " I have a great mind, 
Mr. Speaker," he said, "to let my friend off. What do you say, gentlemen? Shall I go 
on?" And it was only when the House, either nobly eager to see a petulant bully 
made an end of, or merely hot with the fierce instincts which the spectacle of a sharp 
contest always excites, cried out as with one voice, "Go on! go on! punish him! " 
that the sword of the Mississippian descended, and his helpless antagonist fell " all 
of a heap " together at his feet. 

In our congressional annals this scene will long live for an exatriple and a warning: 
an example, as showing how much more efiective, even in so heterogeneous a body 
as the House of Representatives, are the belligerent methods of a well-equipped and 
well-bred nature than those of a hasty and violent one. 

The next occasion on which Mr. Lamar came prominently before the 
country was in the debate about the massacre at Hamburg, South C^aro- 
lina. In that village, on the 7th of July, a riot occurred which took the 
shape of a drawn battle, on a small scale, between the white citizens of 
that vicinity and some reenforcements of white men from Augusta, Ga. 
(which was immediately across the river), on the one hand, and a com- 
pany of negro militia, on the other. One of the white men was slain, 
and afterwards six of the negroes; the latter being killed after the com- 
pany had been taken prisoners. Of course this affair excited much 
comment and much indignant protest from all parts of the cotmtry. 

On the 15th of July the House was engaged in the consideration of 
a joint resolution for the protection of the Texas frontier, on the lower 
Eio Grande, from the incursions of Mexican banditti. Mr. Smalls, a 
colored member, representing the proper district in South Carolina, in- 
troduced an amendment to the effect that " no troops for the purposes 
named in this section shall be drawn from the State of South Carolina 
so long as the militia of that State, peaceably assembled, are assaulted, 
disarmed, and taken prisoners, and then massacred in cold blood by 
lawless bands of men invading that State from the State of Georgia." 

This amendment induced a discussion of the Hamburg affair, in 
which Mr. Smalls had read at the clerk's desk, as a part of his speech. 


a letter from which the signature had been erased, which purported to 
give an accurate and impartial account of the riot, and which was of 
the most startling and sensational character. Mr. Smalls declined to 
name the author, in the remark that " I will say to the gentleman that 
if he is desirous that the name shall be given in order to have another 
negro killed, he will not get it from me," which remark was applauded. 
Thereupon Mr. Cox spoke, and charged that the letter read was "in- 
tended to be shaken in the face of the House for political and bad 
party purposes." On the 18th this debate was resumed, and Mr. La- 
mar, who was a member of the Committee on the Texan Frontier 
Trouble, spoke as follows: 

Mr. Chairman: I do not propose to discuss or analyze this terrible and disgraceful 
affair at Hamburg, although I think that the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Garfield] has 
not given a fair and impartial statement of the circumstances in which it originated. 
But those circumstances are of no moment here upon this question, nor are the prov- 
ocations which led to the final fearful tragedy involved in the proposition now before 
us. Nor are they, in my opinion (and here I differ with the member from Ohio), the 
legitimate topic of debate or discussion on this floor; they belong to another tribunal, 
to which the constitutions of States, as well as that of the Federal Government, remit 
these subjects. 

Whether, in the circumstances and provocations, the whites or blacks were the 
most to blame, is a question to which I shall not now recur. Through all the confu- 
sion which has been thrown around this transaction (and I must say that, notwith- 
standing the honorable character of the informant of the gentleman from South Car- 
olina, which I do not question in the slightest degree, his document was evidently 
written, and perhaps very naturally, under great exasperation and excitement), 
through all the uncertainty which exasperation, and exaggerations have thrown 
around this subject, there is one fact which gleams out acknowledged, or, if not ac- 
knowledged, is indisputable. It is that a body of white men did, without authority 
of law, put to death a number of black men who had been taken as prisoners; I 
mean who had been captured and deprived of their liberty, but who were not pris- 
oners in the legal sense of the term, inasmuch as those capturing them had no right 
under the law to deprive them of their personal liberty. 

Now, sir, I wish to say here in my place (and what I say here, just as it drops from 
my lips and falls upon the reporter's notes, is at once sent throughout the entire 
South, and every constituent of mine in every home and hamlet will read what I say ; 
and even if I were base and ignoble enough to utter here what I would swerve from 
there, as has been felsely charged against Southern men, the Record would always 
convict me) — in my place here, and with the responsibilities surrounding me, I assert 
that no excuse or palliation can possibly be found for these outrages and this bar- 
barism. [Applause.] 

As a Southern man and as a Democrat, I have a remark or two to make upon this 
subject. Mr. Chairman, we of the South have a lawless class, precisely as you of the 
North have lawless classes. As a consequence we have riots in which human life is 
lost, precisely as you have such riots, with this difference: ours, without preconcert^ 
flame up in different localities, and are confined to short periods of time ; while yours, 
in more than one instance, have held several counties in terror, have extended over 
months of time, and have involved a larger loss of human life, defying the authori- 
ties of your States. 
There is another fact which I wish to mention: In those Southern States where dis- 


orders and violence occur there are governments of a peculiar character and type, in- 
variably governments of one character and type. They are governments which are 
called Republican governments; but it is a spurious Republicanism, which has no 
identification or sympathy with the views and purposes that have inspired the follow- 
ing of the great Republican party of this country. And, sir, those State governments 
have invariably encouraged these disorders and these murders by their inefficiency, 
by their imbecility, by their cowardice, and by their connivance; for they have in 
every instance not only failed to punish these murderers, not only failed to adminis- 
ter justice, not only failed to execute the laws, but they have used the occurrences as 
occasions to appeal to Congress and to the North for help in maintaining the power 
which they are so ruthlessly exercising. 

The gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Garfield] asked if this was a sporadic case or one 
typical of the general condition of things South. I answer that there is no commu- 
nity in the South that is not thrilled with horror at such occurrences. Sir, it is a 
■wonder that society does not go to pieces under the operation of governments that 
allow such lawlessness to stalk abroad in the land unpunished. They are govern- 
ments which live on violence and disorder, and when they cannot have violence they 
provoke it in order to use it as an instrument of political power. 

A word in answer to the argument of the gentleman from Michigan [Mr. Conger], 
Saturday, in all good temper. The use of the army never produced any good effect in 
such cases as this. The troops always get to the scene of the disturbance after the 
occurrence, and too late to prevent it ; and as a means of righting personal and private 
wrongs, as a means of preventing violence to personal security, the army is slow, 
cumbersome, is inefiective and almost useless; and in spite of the efibrts of the army 
officers to the contrary (whose actions cannot be too highly commended), it is con- 
verted into a monstrous engine of political oppression and corrupt political intrigues. 
That is the only use to which it is put in the South. The gentleman must see how 
utterly inappropriate the use of the army is in such cases. A riot like this in the 
streets of a town or village is not a thing for the Federal Government to intervene 
about, for it violates no Federal law; it does not conflict with national authority; it 
has no relation to the exercise of the right of sufirage. 

This was a riot like the riots which occurred in the State of Pennsylvania, in the 
mining regions; or in Indiana, where, on the day of the last election, three or four 
colored men were killed; or like that which occurred the other day in New Jersey, 
where seven men were killed, two of them put to death by stoning. Why do you not 
apply the same remedy there? Why confine your Federal intervention to prevent 
murder and riot to one section alone? 

What is the remedy in this case? It is clear. It is the duty of the Governor cf 
South Carolina to take prompt and severe measures to have apprehended and pun- 
ished the men who committed such a crime. He cannot use measures too vigorous 
or too summary to bring the men who shot down these prisoners in cold blood to a 
swift retribution. I understood the eloquent and gifted gentleman from Georgia [Mr. 
Hartridge] to promise the cooperation of the Governor of Georgia, if the case touches 
Georgia in any way, to bring these men to condign punishment. Is the Governor of 
South Carolina doing anything in that direction? If he is, he will meet my support 
and praise, and that of the good citizens of South Carolina ; but if, instead of doing 
that, he is rushing to Washington to invoke once more the demon of discord and 
sectionalism, to drag their material of passion through this chamber, he will not be 
doing that which will prevent disorders in that State. I say, sir, if there is lawless- 
ness, it is because these so-called Republican governments have been, not only cor- 
rupt and lawless themselves, but also because they have encouraged it by giving it 
impunity through their imbecility and cowardice, and often by actually inciting it. 
I say that wherever, as in the State of Arkansas to-day, the Governor has ruled with 


a firm hand and enforced the law, lawlessness has been crushed out ; and all citizens, 
black and white, are alike secure. Gov. Garland has in one year put down the spirit 
of lawlessness in that State, and it is now as peaceable a community as any in the 
country. I repeat, it is not the fault of the people, whose property interests and busi- 
ness investments and industrial ariangements depend upon peace and order, and are 
utterly ruined by such disorders, but of governments either too inefficient to put down 
crime, or so much interested in producing it that they furnish provocations to it. 

Why, sir, the other day Gov. Kellogg, of Louisiana, appointed as a tax collec- 
tor to a parish in that State (so I read in the press) a man who was a captain of a 
band of murderers and robbers. If he had sent his police to hunt him down and 
shoot him like a wolf, him and his marauding band, he would have done his duty. 
But, instead of that, he legalizes robbery and theft by making the robber a public 
officer; and when riots and disturbances grow out of such actions as these, he comes 
here to Washington and calls on this government to bring about order. Sir, these 
occurrences are ruinous to the South ; they are unnatural and morbific elements, and 
disappear whenever this kind of men is eliminated from political and social control 
in the South, and the management of affairs falls into the hands of her own people. 

This positive and bold speech met with widespread approval. Com- 
plimentary letters poured in upon Mr. Lamar, and flattering notices 
appeared all over the country. Of course there were many in the South 
who did not agree with the views expressed, or like the fact of their 
expression; but the great majority were more than satisfied. 

The ultra Radical politicians were no more pleased than the ultra 
bourbons; and efforts were again made to neutralize the injury which 
this and other like speeches of Mr. Lamar's were doing to the Radical 
"bloody shirt" programme, by charging him with making inconsist- 
ent speeches at Washington and in Mississippi, as before he had been 
charged with misrepresenting Southern sentiment. He was assailed 
in this way by papers in Washington; and on the 25th of July he ex- 
posed the injustice of such charges by a personal explanation in the 
House, using both Democratic and Republican testimony in a most 
conclusive way.* 

About this time, so pronounced was this flank movement against him 
by certain classes of leaders that it attracted attention even so far away 
as California. Said the San Francisco Examiner: 

Nothing seems more to irritate the average Radical temper than a contemplation 
of the distinguished position of respect and influence in Congress and before the 
country won for himself by the Hon. L. Q. C. Lamar. The more senseless and un- 
reasonable of this class, finding in his course and conduct nothing that they can mis- 
represent to his disadvantage, and nothing upon which they can with any justice 
hang a tirade of abuse, like silly schoolboys, find their only satisfaction in sitting back 
and pouting or making faces at him. . . . 

On the 2d of August Mr. Lamar delivered the most elaborate, philo- 
sophical, and, from some points of view, most statesmanlike speech 
which he had yet made in Congress. It was a set oration upon "The 
Policy of the Republican Party and the Political Condition of the 

* See Congressional Record of July 25, 18T6. 


Soutl)," manifestly embracing matters which he had been long revolv- 
ing in his mind, and which he had, more or less directly, touched upon 
in other addresses — notably in the New Hampshire campaign. 

He made occasion for this argument by adverting to a speech made 
in the preceding February by Hon. Henry L. Pierce, a member from 
Massachusetts, upon a proposition so to amend the Constitution of the 
United States as to declare the President ineligible to reelection, in 
which that gentleman had discussed the relation of that proposed step 
to the abuses existing in the.Federal administration. Mr. Lamar's idea 
was that such a measure was inadequate to the end proposed; that no 
project of civil service reform gave promise of success which did not 
secure removals from office for cause only, and at the same time secure 
integrity in the power which determined the cause. From that general 
proposition he drifted into his speech,* of which the following is a 

1. The greater portion of the American people, irrespective of party, 
now regard the administration of public affairs witli decided dissatis- 
faction and despondency ; but this sentiment, pronounced and pervading 
as it is, has not produced its legitimate effect upon the action of the 
government. This noteworthy and anomalous fact is caused by the in- 
terposition between the vast masses of a free and virtuous people and 
their government of an intermediate and irresponsible body known as 
the party, with its vast army of officeholders and expectants. 

2. A secondary obstacle in the way of reform is the apprehension enter- 
tained by thousands of honest voters that a mere change of parties would 
produce no practical good, because the Democratic party might pursue 
the same evil courses under similar temptation. But this view involves 
an abandonment of even the struggle for reform; for certainly no re- 
form can be wrought by retaining the Eepublican party in power, since 
the controlling spirits of a party organization are those who represent 
its worst tendencies. The Democratic party, however, has always been 
pledged, and has always redeemed its pledge, to a system of economical 
administration of the enormous revenues and expenditiires of the gov- 
ernment, and in this particular, if in none other, a change of parties will 
open an avenue for reform, since prodigal expenditure is one of the 
greatest sources of the present administrative corruption; while, on 
the other hand, the issues upon which the mass of the American peo- 
ple had differed with the Democratic party had passed away. 

3. There are other controlling influences which obstruct the tenden- 
cies of the people to change their administration. The people believe 
that the great social and political transformations in the South which 
have resulted from the war of secession should be guaranteed a success- 
ful and peaceful working, undisturbed by adverse influences; and they 

♦Appendix No. 13. 


fear, in any advent of the Democratic party to power, an influence un- 
favorable and dangerous to their stability and permanence. These 
misgivings, based upon their estimate of the past career and purposes 
of the Democratic party, are strengthened by the fact that the people 
of the South are united against the party vi^hich established the new 
order of things, and in support of the party which opposed it, thus 
threatening the reestablishment of that Southern sectional domination 
so repugnant to the Northern people. No such hallucination, however, 
inflames the imagination of the South as that she will ever again, under 
any combination of parties, obtain control of this great Eepublic. Her 
people are fully homogeneous with the whole American people; their 
very sectionalism now identifies them with the national life, and makes 
them cultivate that wider patriotism which is coextensive with the 
Union. In acting unitedly with the Democratic party they are simply 
obeying the imperative law of self-preservation, because they desire to 
■escape from the practical grievances which the hostile and oppressive 
policy of the Republican party brings upon them. 

Here Mr. Lamar passes to the real point of his speech: 

4. Equally unfounded is the belief that the results of the war, as em- 
bodied in the amendments to the Constitution, would be unsafe in the 
hands of the Democratic party, and that the retention for another Pres- 
idential term of the Republican party, with all its misconduct and mis- 
government, is still necessary in order to secure those results and the 
conditions upon which they are based. In support of this position Mr. 
Lamar advanced four principal propositions: 

(a) "The present condition of the South is the unfortunate but nat- 
ural result of a sudden and unparalleled social and political revolution, 
which would have confused by its shock the peace and order of any so- 
ciety in the civilized world. 

(6) "The necessary consequences of such a revolution were recog- 
nized by the leaders of the Republican party itself: in the protest of 
Mr. Hoar, of Massachusetts, against the admission of New Mexico as a 
State; by the protest of Mr. Sargeant, of California, against the fur- 
ther immigration of the Chinese upon the Pacific Coast, upon the ex- 
press ground that the Mexican, and Chinese populations were, from 
race characteristics and inferior intelligence, incapable of healthy as- 
similation into the body of American citizens; and still more emphat- 
ically by the earnest, profound, and eloquent denunciations of African 
suffrage by such eminent Republicans as Morton, of Indiana, and An- 
drew, of Massachusetts. 

(c) "These inevitable difiiculties were aggravated by the fact that 
the essential principle of the reconstruction policy of the Republican 
party was the creation of that very color line which is now represented 
as the work of Southern malignity. 

288 LUCIl'fi Q. a LAMAR: 

(d) "The investigating committees of Congress, sent to the South 
for the express purpose of justifying those Southern State governments, 
were obliged to acknowledge a condition of political life which nobody 
is willing to defend, which everybody wishes to terminate, but which 
party exigencies compel the Federal administration to support and sus- 

" The conclusion which Mr. Lamar deduced from those propositions 
was this: If that reconstruction policy, supplemented and supported by 
the steady interference of the Federal government, has produced this 
condition of things; if it is, as he admits, impossible to reverse that pol- 
icy, destroy the State governments which it created, and abolish negro 
suffrage, theu there is but one course to adopt consistent with the form 
and spirit of the constitution. That course is to leave the Southern 
States to settle the problem for themselves." * 

"Give them that," said he; "give them local self-government, and you will then 
see at last what will be the dawn of prosperity in all the industries and enterprises 
of the North. You will see, sir, a true Southern renaissance, a real grand reconstruc- 
tion of the South in all the elements of social order, strength, justice, and equality of 
all her people. Eising from her confusion and distress, rejoicing in her newly recov- 
ered liberty, prosperous, free, great, her sons and daughters of every race happy in 
her smile, she will greet your benignant Republic in the words of the inspired poet: 

' Thy gentleness hath made me great.' " 

This powerful arraignment of the Southern policy of the Eepublican 
party had to be answered; and on the 4th of August Mr. Garfield under- 
took to do so. His speech, however, while able and ingenious as a po- 
litical discourse, neither rose to the level of Mr. Lamar's nor answered 
his argument. Mr. Garfield did not deny any one of Mr. Lamar's prop- 
ositions last stated above. He denied neither that war and emancipa- 
tion had unsettled the very fouudations of Southern society, nor that 
the leaders of the Republican party in 1865 declared that negro suf- 
frage was unwise and dangerous, nor that the plan of reconstruction 
adopted itself drew the color line with a fatal precision, nor the cor- 
rupt and debasing character of the Southern State governments erected 
by the reconstruction. He contented himself with a vigorous arraign- 
ment of the general fitness of the Democratic party for the government 
of the country, leaving entirely unanswered the main point of Mr. La- 
mar's speech. To meet that he was bound to have gone further. 
Whether the Democratic or the Eepublican party was thenceforth to 
govern the country, interested the South only so far as either party 
should be able and willing to settle the Southern questions wisely. 
Mr. Garfield's reply was radically defective in failing to show either 
that Mr. Lamar's remedy of leaving those questions entirely to the 
Southern States for settlement was not the proper remedy, or else that 

*The Southern Question: William H. Tresoott, m North American Review, October, 1876. 


the Republican party was as much disposed to adopt that policy as 
were the Democrats. 

Apropos of this speech the Boston Post said of Mr. Lamar: 

The representative from Mississippi was undeniably cast in a statesman's mold. 
Everything about his mind is large, fair, open, and comprehensive. The ordinary 
small devices of the political pettifogger are not for him. No more is the furnace 
door of passion open within his nature for the stuffing in of combustibles by stoker 
opponents. He is at all times in complete self-command, and from the height of view 
to which that fact raises him he is able to survey the whole situation without letting 
a single feature of it escape him; and for like reasons be is able to make its sum- 
mary a harmonious and consistent one. The need of more such men in the National 
Legislature, from both sections, was never more apparent than now. When one does 
make his appearance, by an unerring law of nature he draws to himself the attention 
and confidence of all, without respect to parties. 


The Presidential Election of 1876— The Result Contested— Storms Threatening— The 
Electoral Commission — Mr. Lamar Speaks in Favor of the Bill — Speech — Addi- 
tional Reasons for Supporting the Bill — Popular Speech— The Electoral Count — 
Democrats Disappointed — Filibustering — Feeling in Mississippi— Unfounded Ru- 
mors of Collusion — Press Discussions and Correspondence — The Gain Found in 
Defeat — President Hayes' Inaugural on Southern Pacification — Republican 
Chagrin — Mr. Blaine's Tilt with Thurman — Mr. Lamar's Letter to the President — 
Withdrawal of the Troops — The South Relieved — Mr. Lamar's Speech of 1879 on 
Hayes' Administration. 

THE State of Mississippi was not allowed to take any part in the 
Presidential election of 1868. In that of 1872 the carpetbag gov- 
ernment was in power, backed by the Federal administration, and the 
white people were not zealous for Mr. Greely; the State's electoral 
votes were therefore cast for President Grant. In the election of 1876, 
for the first time, the State was to participate in a Presidential election 
uutrammeled by Federal repression and with a Democratic candidate 
in the field. On that election, however, the Badicals of the State had 
placed their hopes of regaining possession of power, and their papers 
during the preceding winter had consoled their party for the loss of the 
State elections of 1875 by promising a complete recovery in those of 
this year. Needless to say, therefore, the canvass was a most thorough 
and spirited one on the part of the Democrats. Mr. Lamar took a very 
active part in it. Notwithstanding the fact that since July his health 
had been bad, and when speaking he had to occupy a chair during part 
of the time, he made a number of effective speeches in Vicksburg, Can- 
ton, Grenada, and other places. Mr. Hewitt, the Chairman of the Na- 
tional Democratic Executive Committee, endeavored to get him to go 
North on a canvassing tour; but Gen. George, the Chairman of the 
State Committee, objected, on the ground that he could not be spared 
from Mississippi. 

The Democrats swept the State by a tremendous majority, electing 
all six of the Congressmen; and the electoral votes were cast for Tilden 
and Hendricks. 

The election, however, which in Mississippi had gone so favorably for 
the Democracy and the great cause of local self-government, in its gen- 
eral result brought the country face to face with one of the greatest 
emergencies which had ever confronted the nation and with the frown- 
ing visage of civil war. 

The total vote of the electoral college was three hundred and sixty- 


nine. It required one hundred and eighty-five votes to elect the Presi- 
dent. The States of Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, New Jersey, and 
New York had all gone Democratic; and for the first time the "solid 
Soath " was claimed to have wheeled into that column. In this state of 
the case Mr. Tilden would have two hundred and three votes; but the 
Republicans claimed the States of Florida, Louisiana, and South Caro- 
lina, with their votes of four, eight, and seven, respectively. If this 
claim prevailed, then Mr. Hayes had exactly one hundred and eighty- 
five votes. On the other hand, the Democrats claimed one vote from 
Oregon, which, even conceding the three Southern States to Hayes, 
would still give Tilden the necessary one hundred and eighty-five. 

In i'lorida the Radical Returning Board, against a small popular ma- 
jority, declared Republican electors chosen, and those electors voted for 
Hayes and Wheeler; but at the same time the Democratic electors voted 
for Tilden and Hendricks. The Radical Governor had duly forwarded 
the Republican votes under a proper certificate. At the same election, 
however, State ofiicers had been chosen, and as a result thereof a Demo- 
cratic Governor and Legislature came into office. Thereupon, in Jan- 
uary a statute was passed requiring a new canvass of the popular vote, 
and that canvass resulted in a declaration of the election of the Demo- 
cratic electors. The new Democratic Governor then forwarded a prop- 
er certificate that the vote of Florida had been cast for Tilden and 

From Louisiana there were also conflicting certificates: one in favor 
of Hayes and Wheeler from W. P. Kellogg, claiming to be Governor, 
and acting as such; the other from Mr. McEnery, also claiming to be 
Governor of the State, in favor of Tilden and Hendricks. 

From South Carolina the Radical Governor certified Hayes and 
Wheeler votes, while certain persons claiming to have been duly chosen 
as Presidential electors certified their own votes in favor of Tilden and 
Hendricks, and also certified the facts upon which they claimed that 
the withholding from them by the Governor and the Secretary of State 
of the customary and regular certificates was wrongful and illegal. 

From Oregon also appeared two conflicting certificates: one by the Sec- 
retary of State certifying three Hayes and Wheeler votes; one by the 
Governor certifying two Hayes and Wheeler votes and one vote for Til- 
den and Hendricks; the point at issue being, in its essence, that one of 
the electors chosen by the Republican majority was disqualified to hold 
the office, wherefore it devolved upon his Democratic competitor. 

The decision of any one of these four contentions in favor of tlie'Dem- 
ocrats would have seated Mr. Tilden, while the Republicans needed to 
prevail in all in order to seat Mr. Hayes. 

With such an array of chances in favor of the Democrats it was nat- 
ural that they should be much elated, and that the Republicans should 


be greatly alarmed and aroused to strenuous efforts to save their imper- 
iled power. Early in November au eager aud passionate discussion of 
the situation began, which increased in bitterness as the weeks passed 
by. Party was arrayed against party, and again the division was dan- 
gerously sectional. The Eepublicans denounced the Democratic ma- 
jorities in the critical Southern States as the criminal results of fraud 
and intimidation. The Democrats, on the other hand, denounced the re- 
turns made from those States as a fraudulent reversal of the popular 
vote, made by corrupt conspiracies and sustained by an illegal and op- 
pressive use of the bayonet in the interest of a faction. 

When Congress met in December the lurid lightnings of a political 
tempest played all about the horizon. The atmosphere was full of the 
rumor of civil war imminent. There was an evident determination on 
, the part of the Eepublican leaders not to surrender the reins of power, 
and apparently on the part of the Democracy as resolute a purpose to 
reap the harvest of the victory which they believed that they had won. 
Congress itself, with which rested the determination of a question so 
great, involving not merely a change of administration, but also a re- 
versal of the fundamental policy of the government, was divided politi- 
cally. The Senate was Republican, but the House was Democratic; 
and to each body the party of its predominant faith looked for rescue 
in the momentous crisis. 

The provision of the constitution which controlled the case is as fol- 
lows: "The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate 
and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and the vote shall 
then be counted." Here is no direction on the vital question: By whom 
shall the count be made? That was the point which was pregnant with 
all possible ills: discord, civil war, revolution. Had the President of 
the Senate this right, and did the constitution in case of conflicting 
certificates invest him with the power to determine which was the true 
vote? Had the two Houses of Congress any function to perform be- 
sides that of mere witnesses, or was their acquiescence in the count 
necessary? If their acquiescence is necessary, then must both unite in 
any objection to the decision of the President of the Senate, or would 
the objection of either to a return be fatal to it and prevent its count- 
ing? These questions perplexed the people no less than Congress, and 
of course the partisans throughout the country claimed that interpreta- 
tion most favorable to their cause. 

Petitions [says Mr. Cox] * poured into Congress from commercial orsanizjitions and 
good citizens of all parties and all sections, anxiously praying for a peaceful settle- 
ment of the Presidential question. In tlie wisdom and patriotism of that body was 
now the only reliance for averting bloodshed. A few days after the meeting of the 
electoralcollege, December 14th, Mr. Proctor Knott, of Kentucky, . . . initinted a 

*"Three Decades of Fecleral Legislation," p. 637. 


response to the urgent demands of the country. He proposed a committee of five 
members whose duty it should be, acting in cohjunction with a similar committee on 
the part of the Senate, to consider the whole question of the disputed votes, and to 
recommend to Congress a course to be followed. The resolution was adopted almost 
with unanimity. 

These committees, after many consultations, agreed upon a plan of 
procedure, and on the 18th of January reported to their respective 
Houses a bill which provided for the celebrated Electoral Commission. 
Of course this proposed bill needed to be passed by Congress in the 
usual manner. Its provisions v?ere, in substance, that the commission 
should be composed of fifteen members: five Senators, to be chosen by 
the Senate; five representatives, to be chosen by the House; and five 
Justices of the Supreme Court, the latter to be the justices for the first, 
third, eighth, and ninth judicial circuits, and one other to be selected 
by them, thus adopting an idea of geographical distribution; that all 
conflicting certificates of electoral votes, as they should be reached in 
the regular process of counting, should be referred to the commission, 
"which shall proceed to consider the same with the same powers, if 
any, now possessed by the two Houses acting separately or together, and 
by a majority of votes decide whether any and what votes from such State 
are the votes provided for by the Constitution of the United States, and 
how many and what persons were duly appointed electors in such State, 
and may therein take into view such petitions, depositions, and other 
papers, if any, as shall, by the constitution and now existing law, be 
competent and pertinent in such consideration; . . . and the count- 
ing of the votes shall proceed in conformity therewith, unless . . . 
the two Houses shall separately concur in ordering otherwise." . . . 

It will be observed that this statute does not fix any principle upon 
which the commission should proceed in deliberating upon the ques- 
tions to be considered, unless indeed it be the principle that it was to 
exercise just such powers, no more and no less, as Congress itself might 
exercise in discharging the same function. 

It was well understood that the two Houses would select their repre- 
sentatives on the commission so as to give a majority of Bepublican 
Senators and a similar majority of Democratic representatives. To that 
extent the commission would be equally divided politically. The ele- 
ment of uncertainty was in the justices. Of the four designated by 
their circuits, two belonged to either party; while the fifth, to be selected 
by the four, would probably be Judge Davis, who was considered to be 
an Independent, although the more zealous Republicans accused him of 
Democratic leanings. 

Such was the plan, and such were its promises. The fact that a 
measure was reported to which both parties seemed committed, and 
which gave assurance of a peaceable settlement of so threatening a 

294 LUCIUS Q. C. LA.\fAR: 

complication, caused general relief and rejoicing. The bill passed both 
Houses easily. Its principal opponents in the Senate were Mr. Morton 
and Mr. Sherman; in the House, Mr. Garfield and Mr. Mills. The lat- 
ter spoke earnestly against the bill on the 25th, urging objections to its 
constitutionality. On the next day Mr. Lamar replied to him. After 
touching at no great length on the constitutional questions,* he con- 

Believing this bill to be constitutional, I shall support it for reasons which I will 
now give as well as I can in the short time allotted to me. 

My first reason is that it furnishes a provision which secures our government 
against what has been considered by all our wisest statesmen as the weakest and 
therefore the most dangerous point in our system. They have feared that the elec- 
tion of President, in which nearly all the honors and emoluments of government are 
staked as prizes to be contended for, would soon degenerate into a struggle and contest 
for these honors and emoluments, in which party ascendancy and party triumph will 
be objects of far greater solicitude than the prosperity and good of the country. This 
apprehension was expressed twenty-five years ago by a great American statesman in 
words which seem to be peculiarly appropriate to the present condition of public 
afiairs. Speaking of the vast and growing patronage of the President and the num- 
ber of offices of distinction and profit in his control, he says: 

These, and especially the latter, have made (the election of President) the great 
and absorbing object of party struggles; and on this the appeal to force will be made, 
whenever the violence of the struggle and the corruption of parties will ho longersubmit 
to the decision of the ballot box. . . . If it comes to this, it will be, in all probability, 
in a contested election ; when the question will be. Which is the President? The in- 
cumbent — if he should be one of the candidates — or, if not, the candidate of the party 
in possession of power? or of the party endeavoring to obtain possession? On 
such an issue, the appeal to force would make the candidate of the successful party master 
of the whole. . . . The contest would put an end, virtually, to the elective character 
of the department. The form of an election might for a time be preserved, but the 
ballot box would be much less relied on for the decision, than the sword and bayonet. 
In time even the form would cease, and the successor be appointed by the incumbent; 
and thus the absolute form of a popular, would end in the abs^olute form of a 
monarchical government. — Calhoun on the Constitution of the United States, page 378. 

Sir, this measure, unanimously recommended by men representing both political 
parties, I regard as certain proof that in this Congress devotion to party is not stronger 
than devotion to the country, and that the promotion of the prosperity and interest 
of the country is an ohject of deeper and more intense solicitude than all the honors 
and emoluments which may be reaped as the rewards and spoils of a Presidential tri- 
umph. Its enactment into a law will be a grand triumph of patriotism, nationality, 
harmony, and zeal for the public good, over faction, selfishness, and the struggle for 
party ascendancy. For this reason alone I would give my support to this bill. 

I proceed to my next reason. As I understand the measure it rests on three propo- 
sitions: First, that the President of the Senate has not the right to decide what votes 
to count and what to reject; second, that both the Senate and the House have the 
right to decide and direct what is an honest count of legal votes ; third, that, as 
neither can surrender this right to the other, and as there are differences of opinion 
as to the extent of this power, whether it is limited to the ascertainment of the au- 
thenticity of the certified returns or extends to the right of going behind. them, it pro- 
vides for a tribunal to decide these questions in cases of conflicting returns and to 
determine which return is the true and which of the controverted votes are the proper 
ones to be counted. In other words, they will take the advice of a commission, the 

* Appendix No. U. 


character of which will guarantee a thoroughly considered and impartial opinion. 
Upon that opinion the two Houses assembled will finally act. 

Now, sir, if I had doubts of the wisdom of this plan (which I have not), I would ac- 
cept it in preference to the alternative which is now before us. If no mode of adjust- 
ing or reconciling the present differences can be found, what is the result? Why, that 
the next President will have to be inaugurated by a method and through processes and 
agencies advocated and pressed by one party alone with the view to a single object, 
and that is the consummation of its own triumph, to which it believes itself entitled. 
However this Presidential contested election may be ended, unless this bill passes, 
one or the other party must determine to submit to what it believes to be a fraudulent 
perversion of law, constitution, and right, or to resist by force. Either of these results 
would be an incalculable calamity. In case of submission, the whole moral force of 
the government would be destroyed. Both to those who win and those who lose the 
constitution will have become a mei'e weapon of party warfare, and the manipulation 
of a venal and corrupt popular vote will be perfected in the hands of bold and bad po- 
litical adventurers ; and in all succeeding elections the forms of constitutional proce- 
dure will be more and more recklessly disregarded, until finally the result will be de- 
termined, not by the ballot, but by sword and bayonet. 

As to the alternative of resistance, there is no necessity to pretend to ignore it; for 
we all know that a good deal has been said about it, both by those who would scorn 
to think it possible and those who (I am sorry to say it) would be glad to hear it 
threatened. Now, sir, the man who says that he despises such indications, who feels 
a contempt for the menace of civil war, no matter from what quarter it comes, permits 
himself to overlook one of the most important features in the problem of government: 
the contentment, the harmony, and the repose and security of the society for which he 
legislates ; and he forgets the first lesson in the elementary book of practical politics. 

For one, I am not unwilling to say that the former alternative (of submission) would 
be the one adopted, and that resistance would not be made, at least by the Democratic 
party. And in saying this, I wish to repel the disparagement which has been ex- 
pressed of the courage and patriotism of our Northern political associates and friends, 
which we sometimes hear. I believe them to be wanting in neither. As to the charge 
that in the past they have encouraged us with promises of support that were not ful- 
filled, I deny it. They did sympathize with us as to the causes which provoked our 
secession ; but while a few public men made extravagant declarations as to what they 
would do in a certain event, our Northern Democratic friends as a party pleaded with 
us to remain and defend our institutions with their support inside of the Union. 
They did not as a party give assurances of cooperation and aid to us against their own 
States should war result from our secession. And sir, if there existed with us at that 
time any bitter feeling of disappointment toward our former political associates, it 
ha9 been effaced by their undeviating fidelity since the war to the constitutional rights 
of our people, and by their unwavering support and sympathy coming up on every 
question as true as the needle to the pole, without the needle's variations. No, sir ; 
whatever of responsibility the South incurred in that movement she has no desire to 
shrink from. The sorrowful lesson we have to teach our children is all our own. It 
is that we undertook a great political movement which time and the fortunes of war 
disclosed that we had not the strength and resources to carry on to a successful con- 
summation. Our vindication — and a generous victor will not deny us that — lies in 
our solemn conviction that we were defending the institutions and the principles of 
constitutional liberty, the heritage of the fathers of the Eepublio. It was this senti- 
ment which inspired the courage of our soldiers in battle and now renders our section 
all the more precious to us in defeat, giving her, to our eyes at least, dignity in her des- 
olation and beauty and majesty even in her ruin and woe. 

I repeat that this bill avoids the necessity of any submission of the defeated party 


to what it may consider either fraud or force. The result, whatever it may be, will have 
been reached by the patriotic consent of both parties; andif it involves any addition to 
the methods heretofore observed, it will have been an addition fairly discussed, openly 
and legally adopted, ratified by the will and approved by the good sense of the whole 
people. It leaves the framework of the constitution unshaken, the sanctity of law 
inviolate. Indeed, it is so in harmony with the genius of the constitution, so promo- 
tive of the scheme of its framers, that, had this commission of reference been part of 
the original constitution itself, there would have been no language too extravagant to 
describe its far-sighted wisdom. 

To have solved so dangerous and difficult a question so simply, so calmly, and so 
justly, is the highest tribute which can be paid to those principles of constitutional 
liberty which have trained the American people to such a possibility. The spirit in 
which the bill has been framed by its authors of both parties is no slight guarantee 
of the fairness with which the representative men of both political parties will ad- 
minister its provisions; and if I cannot rely upon the patience and ability and the jus- 
tice which the members of the Supreme Court will bring to the discharge of perhaps 
the most solemn duty ever imposed upon the magistrates of a free country, with what 
confidence could I accept, or ask others to accept, the decision of the same question by 
a mere party majority either of the Senate or of the House? 

There is another consideration which commends this bill to my support. It can- 
not be denied that this Presidential campaign has been marked by some painful char- 
acteristics; it cannot be denied that strong sectional prejudices and passions were 
appealed to and excited in its progress; it cannot be denied that a large majority of 
Northern States were found on one side, and that an almost unbroken body of South- 
ern States were found on the other. Now, sir, in such an issue, in the presence of such 
parties, in full view of all the unjust and unconstitutional action to which party pa."- 
sion has stimulated party power, I feel that this bill is a declaration that in the fu- 
ture this tyranny of force must cease; that hereafter in any conflicts to which the 
South as a part of the Union must be necessarily a party the sword shall not be 
thrown into the scales of justice, nor military p6wer be permitted to silence the law 
but that all questions of diflference must be referred to the arbitration of reason. I 
feel that my section at least has been permitted to stand forth once more in the pure 
air of free discussion, and that,, whatever be the decision, we have been allowed to ap- 
peal to men acknowledging a common citizenship under an equal constitution. 

Nor does the fact that the Justices of the Supreme Court are made parties in this 
Commission lessen my conviction of its propriety or weaken the sentiment of approv- 
al with which I regard it. I have no fear of disturbing the balance of constitutional 
powers, nor have I any mistrust of the spirit of honest impartiality in which that duty 
will be discharged. I listen with no patience to imputations upon this august tribu- 
nal. I cannot forget that one of the greatest of American statesmen, the man who 
least of all who have left their mark on our constitutional history was disposed to 
compromise either rights or duties, who spoke of such compromises as shifting sands 
and the constitution as a rock of support, taught me this confidence. When, in 1848, 
the question of the power of Congress over slavery in the Territories was perplexing 
our councils and presaging the civil troubles which came upon us afterwards, it was 
proposed in the Clayton Compromise to refer that question, political and sectional as 
it was, to the Supreme Court for decision, that reference was warmly supported by 
Mr. Calhoun, who declared that such a reference was leaving it where it ought to be 
left— to the constitution. And, sir, so we may say that this measure refers this ques- 
tion to the tribunal of the constitution. 

Sir, I do know that in the dark hour of our distress it was from that court, just as 
it is now constituted, and from it alone of all the departments of this Federal Govern- 
ment, that we of the South have had protection against the legislation that forgot the 


constitution in the vengeful spirit of its harsh and oppressive provisions. Its decisions 
in the Slaughter-house and other cases justified us in believing that there was one ref- 
uge for those who claimed that protection. 

An additional recommendation (and I confess that it is no light one) of this plan to 
my support is that to a certain extent it frees either candidate from the exactions of 
party obligation. It is true that either will have owed his elevation to the party which 
supported him; but the closeness of the contest, the possibility of a faikire in the elec- 
tion, the scrutiny of all the doubtful and dishonorable elements which unavoidably 
mix in a great popular vote, the solemn recognition by such a court of the awful re- 
sponsibility which they are about to place in the hands of him whom they shall con- 
firm — all these incidents, so impressive and so unusual, cannot fail to teach the coni- 
' ing President that he is not the President of a party, but of the people; that the for- 
tunes and the character of a great Commonwealth depend upon the elevation, the pu- 
rity, the patriotism of his administration ; that the conscience of the country cries 
aloud for the old-fashioned honesty of its past honorable life, and that everywhere 
over this vast continent, amid the distraction of party passion and the honest perplex- 
ity of political difierences, the popular heart is yearning for " the old good nature and 
the old good humor." [Applause.] 

Two years later, Mr. Lamar, in an address to his constitiients, gave 
the following additional reasons for his support of the Commission Bill: 

I believe that the most dangerous event in our history, not excepting the war of 
secession, was the contest over the result of the Presidential election of 1876. The 
war of secession must have ended either as it did, in the restoration of the Union, 
or else in the formation of two republics, based on difierent systems, but equally rep- 
resented by strong and civilized governments. But if this last contest had reached 
no legal and peaceful solution, if it had resulted in the establishment of the principle 
that a Presidential election may be determined by force alone, there would have been 
an end to constitutional government on this continent. We should have been de- 
graded to the condition of Mexico and the South American Eepublics, and could have 
looked forward to a future only of revolutions and counter revolutions, savage out- 
breaks, bloody retaliations, and despotic suppressions. 

The most dangerous feature in this contest was its sectional character. Mr. Tilden's 
majority came mainly from the South, having carried every Southern State, three of 
which were put in dispute by the cheating, fraudulent action of Returning Boards 
and the false certificates of State Governors. Mr. Hayes had a decided popular ma- 
jority in the Northern States, a majority accustomed to look upon any active assertion 
of Southern ideas in national politics with strong distrust and apprehension. In all 
of those States there was only one Democratic Legislature. The Republicans were in 
possession of all the governmental bureaus and of the powers exercised through 
them, as well as of the Presidency and its overshadowing power. The constitution 
had provided no method of solution for this controversy, and the need of a quick so- 
lution was imperious. Unfortunately the two Houses of Congress were divided polit- 
ically. The Republican Senate demanded the installation of Mr. Hayes, on the cer- 
tificates based on the returns of the Returning Boards, as the only lawful criterion of 
election. The Democratic House asserted its right to go behind those returns and 
investigate their truth. There was no mode of settling this issue, no arbiter, and no 
tribunal provided by the constitution. If, then, the Democratic party had insisted to 
the last upon the view of the House, had consented to no settlement except its own 
will, and had determined upon the installation of Mr. Tilden on the ground that the 
certificates and returns were false, while the Republicans held that those questions 
could not, under the constitution and the laws, be raised at all, what would have been 
the result? 


The Republicans would undoubtedly have inaugurated Mr. Hayes. The Republi- 
can Chief Justice would have sworn in him, not Mr. Tilden. The Republican Senate 
would have recognized Mr. Hayes, would have confirmed all of his Cabinet and other 
appointments, and would have refused to entertain any nominations sent in by Mr. 
Tilden. The Republican bureaus would have been delivered over to Mr. Hayes' nom- 
inees, and would have been closed to those of Mr. Tilden. President Grant, with the 
entire military force of the United States at his command, would have supported Mr. 
Hayes with arms, and the Tilden government would have melted away like that of 
McEnery in Louisiana, or else it would have meant civil war. 

But, worse still, Mr. Tilden would have been forced to rely upon a solid and armed 
South against what would have been shown to be a solid North, aroused to resist the 
rale of a President set up by what was called " the Confederate House." The Demo- 
cratic North was prepared for no such issue, and would not have gone into it. What- 
ever were their wishes and intentions, no Democratic Northern statesman could have 
withstood the outbreak of popular sentiment whenever the South, just admitted for 
the first time to its fall equality in the Union, and that upon probation, and under a 
suspicion and a misgiving, should again plunge the nation into the horrors of a civil 

I go farther. If the Northern Democrats had been willing to meet the issue in 
arms, even to blood (as they took special care to disclaim), I would never have con- 
sented. I know what civil war means, and you know it. 

Mr. Lamar here dwelt at some length upon what would have been 
the fatal consequences to the South had she suffered herself to be in- 
veigled into another war with the North for supremacy in the National 
Government, and said: 

Men may talk of courage and audacity, but you know and I know that the men 
who lead in cruel convulsions are not alone they who pay the penalty of temerity. If 
any man thinks that it is a lack of courage not to be willing to confront such conse- 
quences and dangers, let him pass judgment upon me for my course on that occasion; 
but I thank my God that he gave me the moral courage to avoid them. Some pacific 
solution, then, was necessary ; and it was found in the Electoral Commission. I do 
not mean to examine it in detail nor to review its decisions. It was a Democratic 
measure, opposed by the Republicans, and by Senator Morton, who said: "It is a sure 
thing as it stands; why run any risks?" It was supported by men like Thurman, 
Bayard, and McDonald, who have stood side by side in the defense of Southern rights 
always ; and it was voted for by every Democrat in the Senate, save one. 

If now you will review what I have said, I think you will not misunderstand my 
motives or my action. I had seen the South steadily improving at home, restored 
more fully year by year to her rights of self-government, taking her place with larger 
numbers and wider influence in the council of the nation ; and doing all this with a 
temper, moderation, and patriotism that were fest convincing the general mass of the 
Northern people that the full and equal presence of the South in every department 
of the government was no longer a danger to the nation's security, not even a deduc- 
tion from it ; but, on the contrary, a contribution to its highest interests. Our domes- 
tic troubles were beginning to be justly and kindly appreciated, the diflBculties in our 
way better comprehended, and the conviction was gaining ground everywhere that 
their solution must depend upon the Southern people, both black and white. The 
language of mistrust, of strong and angry condemnation, was rapidly becoming the 
mere political slang of partisans ; and we had the practical guaranty of safety from 
any new policy of oppression, in the full control of the Lower House of Congress. Of 
course I would have preferred to see Mr. Tilden inaugurated. I regarded him as one 


of the ablest of the many able leaders of the Democratic party, and one of the best 
representatives of its best ideas. I believed him elected, and was deeply grieved at 
our loss of the precious fruits of that election. When I voted for the Electoral Com- 
mission I voted for the creation of a tribunal which I believed was as apt to decide 
one way as the other; but when it decided against us I felt sure of these things: That 
any decision was better than force and civil war ; that any civil commotion would be 
fatal to the people and to the prospects and prosperity of the South ; and that four 
years more of probation — if probation it could be called, with such a President as Mr. 
Hayes representing the Republican party, and with Congress Democratic — would, if 
we acted wisely, leave us stronger in ourselves, steadier in our policy, and in closer 
and more friendly relations with the people of the whole country. And the condition 
of the South and of the Democratic party to-day proves that I was right. 

Entertaining the views as to the impending crisis which he so clearly 
sets forth in this extract, it seems manifest that Mr. Lamar could only 
have acted 'as he did. Any other course would have been not merely 
culpable, but even criminal. 

Whatever calculations were built upon the likelihood of the selection 
of Judge Davis as the fifteenth member of the Commission, and upon a 
possible bias upon his part toward the Democratic party, were doomed 
to disappointment. Pending the discussion of the electoral bill he was 
elected to the Senate from Illinois ; and Judge Bradley was consequent- 
ly selected as the fifth justice, thus giving to the Republicans eight 
members of the fifteen. However, while this was felt to be unfavora- 
ble to the Democratic claims, there was still a very general hope that 
the distinguished men chosen to discharge so responsible and conspicu- 
ous a service would lay aside any party prepossessions, and determine 
all questions according to the very right and justice of each. 

The first controversy submitted to the Commission was that over the 
conflicting certificates from Florida, on the 1st of February, when that 
State was reached on the alphabetical call. Its decision was rendered 
on the 9th, awarding the votes to Hayes and Wheeler, on the ground 
that it was not competent, under the constitution and the law, as it ex- 
isted at the date of the passage of the act creating the Commission, to 
go into evidence aliunde on the papers opened by the President of the 
Senate — in brief, that the Governor's certificate, based upon the decision 
of the State Eeturning Board, was conclusive. A similar decision was 
rendered as to Louisiana on the 16th, and another as to South Carolina, 
on the 27th, of February. In the case of Oregon, the judgment ren- 
dered on the 23d was that the elector whose vote was challenged on the 
ground of his incompetency to hold the office was qualified; that under 
the laws of Oregon the duty of canvassing the votes and certifying the 
result to Washington devolved upon the Secretary of State alone; 
wherefore this vote must be also counted for Hayes and Wheeler. 

Aside from the exultation, on the one hand, and the chagrin, on the 
other, caused to partisanship by the result of these decisions, their 


announcement was a distinct shock to the moral sense of the people. 
The Commission had decided in every instance on strict party lines, 
eight Eei^ublicans voting steadily against seven Democrats. Despite 
the discussions about the possibility of such a course, there had still 
been a strong expectation otherwise; and that it should indeed prove 
so was a grievous disappointment to the country. The proud office of 
the Presidency was felt to be degraded by the rendition of an unjust 
judgment, and the sense of patriotism suffered. That men so able and 
good should apparently be susceptible to such influences staggered 
faith in human virtue. It w&,s not so much the decision as the method 
of it. Viewed from the standpoint of a State rights Democrat, and 
assuming that the Governors and Returning Boards whose action was 
accorded such ;finality were lawful State officers, the principle of the 
decisions as announced was intelligible, and their reasoning difficult to 
combat. But that principle was now announced by a Republican ma- 
jority on a strict party vote, in order to seat a candidate of their party, 
which party had theretofore persistently rejected that principle wholly 
as to the Southern States, and had not only claimed and asserted the 
right to investigate and interfere with elections in those States, but 
had also pulled down and set up their very governments at will. In 
the case of Louisiana, the Governor, whose certificate was relied on so 
absolutely, was one who was declared by many leading Republicans, 
including committees of Congress, to have no title to his office; who 
had been installed in it only by the illegal midnight order of a Federal 
judge without jurisdiction (afterwards impeached by the House for that 
very order), and who was maintained in his office only by the will of the 
President, backed by the United States Army. 

After the decision of the committee in the Louisiana case was an- 
nounced, the political feeling in the House became very intense. A 
certain proportion of the Democrats, about ninety in number, felt that 
they had been cheated and betrayed. They resorted to dilatory mo- 
tions in order to retard the progress of the count, with the avowed 
object of preventing its completion, in which case it would have been 
the duty of the House to proceed, before the 4th of March, to the elec- 
tion, by States, of a President. Said one of those members, when 
taunted with filibustering in violation of the statute: "When fraud is 
the law, filibustering is patriotism." Says Mr. Cox: "The scenes in 
the House were at times intensely exciting. The country seemed to be 
bordering on a revolution to be inaugurated in the Hall of Represen- 
tatives. . . . Mr. Speaker Randall's resolute course during this memo- 
rable epoch may have saved the country from consequences even more 
serious than a fraudulent Presidency." 

A large number of the Democrats refused to adopt this policy. It 
was distinctly and emphatically rejected in a party caucus. Having 


participated in the enactment of the statute in good faith and from 
motives of the highest patriotism, they resolved to carry it out loyally 
even though the result was bitter. With this number Mr. Lamar 
cooperated. He supported none of the dilatory motions, but unvary- 
ingly forwarded the proper business of the House. 

He prepared a speech upon the subject of the decisions of the Com- 
mission, which, however, he did not deliver, presumably either for 
want of opportunity or because it seemed useless. It is of interest 
only as a presentation of his views upon this crisis. * 

Mr. Lamar might well thank God that he had been given the moral 
courage to do his duty in this troubled period. There were many 
temptations to shirk it. His own natural and very strong inclination 
to support Mr. Tilden at every risk was to be suppressed; and he 
neither lacked the zealous temperament nor a high and daring spirit, 
as was known to all who remembered him in 1861. Moreover, certain 
things were saying and doing about the pending measure and the gen- 
eral situation which are necessary to be noted in order to understand 
the trials of spirit to which he was subjected. 

Throughout Mississippi, and indeed through the entire South, there 
was, not a general, but a very common and emphatic opposition to the 
electoral bill. Thousands of ardent Democrats, flushed with the heat 
of victory, confident iu the justice of their claims, skeptical about the 
determination of the Eepublicans to resist, and regarding their bold 
front as only a political bluff, oversure of the resolution of the Demo- 
crats of the whole nation to resort if necessary to the final test of force, 
unaware of the depth and danger of the pitfalls before their party in 
pursuing any policy of force— demanded persistence to the end, without 
compromises, without regard to consequences, and at all risks. The 
newspapers were prolific of such sentiments, and abounded in elaborate 
editorials on "The Right of Resistance," and similar topics. Such 
Democratic leaders as did not respond to these extreme views, and 
manifested a disposition to adopt more conservative courses, were often 
denounced as traitors to the Democratic party. They who were of this 
school were a minority, it is true;* but it was a minority, positive, ag- 
gressive, and noisy. On the other hand, the majority, who were more 
pacifically disposed, were neither so assured that they were right nor 
so vociferous in respect to their convictions. It was just the condition 
in which, if one had in him any element of demagogy, he would be 
sadly puzzled to know which turn to take; for if the event proved the 
minority right, it might mean political ruin to him who withstood them. 
The minority in this instance numbered also some of Mr. Lamar's 
warmest personal friends — men for whom he had strong attachments, 

* Appendix No. ,15. 


and whose political sagacity he was wont to count upon largely. Espe- 
cially was this true of the able and patriotic editor of The Clarion, Mr. 
Barksdale, who, until this period, had been of the greatest assistance 
to Mr. Lamar in his public duties. Here, however, was laid the foun- 
dation of an estrangement which lasted for years (being overcome only 
after Mr. Lamar went into Mr. Cleveland's Cabinet), and converted The 
Clarion to lukewarmness if not open hostility. 

There was another, and to Mr. Lamar a far more trying, feature. No 
man ever regarded his political convictions with a deeper reverence 
than did he, and no man ever had less respect for a political turncoat; 
yet no sooner was the fact fully developed, after the election, that there 
was to be a serious contest of Mr. Tilden's election, and that his inaug- 
uration was doubtful, than sensational newspaper stories began to cir- 
culate, charging or insinuating various forms of political disloyalty, 
some of which more or less directly connected Mr. Lamar's name. 

Early in December it was said that Col. Lamar and Gen. Wade 
Hampton were plotting with Gov. Hayes on the basis that the South 
would acquiesce in the fraudulent counting of the Returning Boards 
and support the administration of Mr. Hayes, provided he would agree 
to discountenance the carpetbaggers and distribute the official pat- 
ronage in the South among Democrats. This report elicited an in- 
formal denial from Mr. Lamar, in which he is represented as saying 
to the reporter that, "so far as his name is connected with certain re- 
ports as to the views of Gov. Hayes, there is no truth in the story. 
Mr. Lamar has not seen Gen. Hampton since the war, nor communicated 
with him, except by telegrams which have been published. He never 
saw Gov. Hayes in his life, nor ever communicated with him either 
directly or indirectly." 

Another absurd story, a little later, was to the effect that Mr. Lamar 
was offered a place in Mr. Hayes' cabinet on condition that he would 
support that gentleman's claim to the Presidency. Of this report, " Col. 
Lamar said that no such offer had been made, and if it had, he would have 
declined to receive it. If any proposition should be made to him from 
that quarter with regard to the settlement of the Presidential question, 
he should at once submit it to a caucus of his party." Apropos of such 
rumors, the papers had much to say to the effect that "the Radicals 
have been deluding themselves with the belief that they could alienate 
the Southern Democrats from their Northern allies, and thus make 
the Hayes usurpation programme more certain of success." . . . 

To one constituted like Mr. Lamar it would have been impossible to 
offer an affront more galling than liberties of this exact shape, taken 
with his name and character; and no dread could have borne more 
heavily upon him than the fear of giving such reports, however un- 
founded in fact, color by his political course. 


Of the papers which assailed him in this manner, one of the most of- 
fensive was the Union, a new Democratic daily published in Washing- 
ton under the direction of Mr. Montgomery Blair. On the 5th of Jan- 
uary appeared a column editorial, in which Mr. Hayes was charged with 
conspiring with the Southern leaders, and Mr. Lamar with the chief en- 
terprise of the intrigue on their part. The St. Louis Republic said of 
this editorial that in Washington its appearance " caused considerable 
excitement. On first impulse Mr. Lamar wrote a card to Mr. Blair 
which meant fight, or it meant nothing; but up to this hour he has, by 
advice of his friends, withheld from sending it to Mr. Blair or giving it 
out for publication. . . . Mr. Lamar's theory of these assaults, 
there having been one or two of less severity within a few days, is that 
it is meant as a punishment for his support of the Texas Pacific Rail- 

Mr. Lamar sent to Mr. Blair a friend, who pronounced the charges 
false, and demanded a retraction of the same; and the following is what 
Mr. Blair stated in his paper of the next day, the 6th of January: 

Mr. L. Q. 0. Lamab — A Correction. — We said yesterday that " \ye had heard of no 
one of the Southern Senators save only Mr. Lamar who thinks it belongs to the Sen- 
ate through its presiding oflncer to make the President." 

We have learned since the publication from the best authority that we were misin- 
formed respecting Mr. Lamar on the point in question; that from first to last he has 
entertained directly the contrary opinion, holding that it is settled beyond controversy 
by the terms of the constitution and by the uniform usage under it that it belongs 
to Congress to count the electoral vote, and that the duty of the President of the Sen- 
ate extends only to the safe keeping of the packages and to breaking the seals in the 
presence of the two Houses of Congress. 

We make the correction .with unfeigned pleasure, and regret very much having 
heen misled to do Mr. Lamar injustice. We take the occasion also to say that noth- 
ing short of the positive statement by persons whom we had every reason to rely upon 
could have misled us. We had no distrust of Mr. Lamar, and approve entirely the 
liberal course by wl^ich, as much as by his great ability, he has attained his high posi- 
tion in the councils of the nation. 

On the 5th of March Mr. Richard Malcolm Johnston wrote to Mr. La- 
mar from Maryland a letter of condolence on the late death of his 
cousin, Lavoisier Lamar, which included this paragraph : 

1 have been much concerned to notice the charges against you of confederating 
with the Republicans to defeat the inauguration of Mr. Tilden. I need not assure 
you that I have regarded them as having no foundation in truth. If you think a let- 
ter from you now would tend to place you right in the face of the public, suppose you 
write to me and allow me to publish. 

Indorsed on this letter is the brief of his answer, apparently for the 
use of his secretary: 

My cousin Lavoisier was as near to me as my own brother, and was one of the no- 
blest men on earth. As to my connection with politics, I am a Democrat, shall al- 
ways be a conservative Democrat, and do not expect to act with any other party. But 


a public man's status must be defined by his acts and course, and not by studied : s- 
surances ; therefore decline to publish this letter. 

So far as the reports of political apostaey are concerned, tliey were 
not entertained for a moment in Mississippi. Even those papers and 
persons who differed most positively from Mr. Lamar in respect to his 
course about the Commission sjjoke of this matter as " absurd " and 
" impossible." It was only in other States that they arrested any atten- 
tion of a more serious nature. 

On the 6th of March his friend, Mr. Goar, wrote him from Tupelo, 
Miss., that 

. . . Our people are very much depressed here, cursing everybody, you with 
the balance. They talk like you, Gordon, and Hill could have had the thing your own 
way if you had tried. This will pass away after a little while, though. 

These details, trivial as history, are yet significant as biography. 
Staunch and loyal as was Mr. Lamar, devoted to his section and peo- 
ple as he was, disinterested, proud of his untarnished record and repu- 
tation, the suspicion of him and the "cursing "cut him to the very soul. 
Yet it is characteristic of his self -poise and fortitude that he gave no 
public expression of his feelings, nor anything more than the faintest 
trace of it in his most private correspondence. 

On the 26th of April he wrote to his wife: 

I wish you knew how happy your stay with me made me. ... It brightened 
an existence in which for months every day bad brought its sting, loaded v/ith dread 
of evil, and piling upon me disappointments in others and failures in myself. . . 
I have no happiness outside of your love and presence. I wish I could go home to 
you. I know everything looks beautiful ; and if I had the means of support there, I 
would stay there all my life. ... I hope you will go to see our friends in Grenada. 
I love them so much beyond any others I have. I have more confidence in Gen. 
Walthall than I have in any man on earth. No man has such a hold upon my affec- 
tions as he has; and, my wife, it will be a great happiness to me if you will enter into 
and share with me the warm, grateful, and loyal friendship I bear to them. 

At this time, too, he corresponded with parties in Georgia looking to 
the purchase of the old Lamar homestead, evidently contemplating the 
possibility that things might take such a turn for him that it would be 
desirable to retire to the shades of private life permanently. 

The struggle over the Presidential election was lost to the Demo- 
crats, it is true; but so far as the Southern section of that party was con- 
cerned, it was written in the book of fate that they were to secure, even 
in defeat, something of the fruits of victory. The great want of the 
Southern States was the reestablishment of local self-government. 
Undue Federal interference in the domestic affairs, now protracted 
through ten years, was felt to be the most serious trouble of the nation. 
What had most concerned the people of the South in the election was 


not the public debt and finances, nor civil service reform, nor the tariff. 
These all sunk into insignificance by comparison with the one absorb- 
ing topic of relief from the domination, by military interference, of the 
Federal Government. No political liberty could exist, it was felt, or 
political virtue remain, within the gleam of the bayonet. The with- 
drawal of those troops whose presence in the South at once suggested, 
facilitated, and typified such interference, was the great political de- 

In July preceding, Mr. Hayes, in his letter accepting the Presiden- 
tial nomination, had used language which was regarded as promising a 
more lenient policy in Southern affairs. This language, although sus- 
ceptible of two very different interpretations, according to the point of 
view of the reader, was, on the whole, regarded in the South as favora- 
ble to the wishes of the white people of that section. It gave some 
hope, although not a strong on